Swiss Trader Says Russia’s Sberbank Caused Refinery Bankruptcy

Sanctioned Russian lender Sberbank PJSC caused the bankruptcy of the Antipinsky Oil Refinery in Western Siberia, according to Swiss trader New Stream Trading AG, Bloomberg reported. Sberbank “had full control of the management of Antipinsky” from mid-November 2018 and took steps leading to it “procuring the breaches” of the refinery’s existing contracts, NST said, quoting from a ruling by a tribunal constituted under the London Court of International Arbitration. NST, which marketed the refinery’s products until the facility went bankrupt in 2019, brought the case against Sberbank seeking the return of its pre-payments for petroleum products that weren’t delivered. The arbitration tribunal discharged NST of its liabilities before Sberbank and its Swiss unit, which amounted to more than one billion dollars, and ordered Sberbank to reimburse 85% of NST’s legal fees, according to NST’s statement. In response, Sberbank said the tribunal had “denied NST in full in recovery of damages from the Bank,” a spokesperson said by email. NST “could not refute the concealment of information about the off-balance multibillion-dollar guarantees accepted by the Antipinsky Refinery and the withdrawal of money by the management and the owner of the plant,” the Sberbank statement said. The European Union approved sanctions earlier this month cutting the Russian lender off from the international payments system SWIFT, as punishment for the nation’s invasion of Ukraine. Sberbank aims to complete the sale of its Swiss unit by mid-July, first deputy chief executive officer Alexander Vedyakhin said in an interview this month. Read more.