Kyiv’s Economic Court has ruled that state-owned PrivatBank must pay $1.5 million to the company Opt Nafta Plus.
The court stated that Ukraine’s central bank wrongfully recognized Opt Nafta Plus (formerly Optimus Plus) as a related party and included their deposits in the bail-in during the bank’s nationalization in December 2016.
Now the company is demanding PrivatBank reimburse them for $1.5 million.
The ruling is the most recent in a long string of court cases in which several depositors have filed hundreds of lawsuits trying to get their money back from PrivatBank. In total, they have sued for over $1.2 billion, claiming they were wrongfully included in the bail-in.
PrivatBank even formed reserves of $230 million in the second quarter of 2020 in order to be able to pay back companies in the event of any lawsuits related to PrivatBanks’s nationalization in 2016.
The court stated that the NBU “forcibly” included Opt Nafta Plus in the bail-in, violating current legislation of Ukraine. The decision was made “in excess of authority,” the statement reads.
The ruling on this matter was originally made on Jan. 20 but published only on Feb. 24.
Opt Nafta Plus is registered online as manufacturer and wholesaler headquartered in Dnipro. They have little online presence and could not be reached for comment.
PrivatBank told the Kyiv Post that the court upheld the claim solely on the basis of the allegations of Opt Nafta Plus that it was not related to PrivatBank, without verifying it with evidence.
This, PrivatBank said, shows “an obvious violation of the rules of procedure by the court” and stated that it is planning to appeal.
Last year, PrivatBank appealed the Pechersk Court’s decision to force PrivatBank to pay $350 million to the companies owned by the Surkis brothers under the same claim — they also say they were wrongfully included in the bail-in.
After PrivatBank appealed, Ukraine’s Supreme Court temporarily blocked the lower court’s decision. The case is still being reviewed by the court.
PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest bank, was nationalized in 2016 when it was found to have a more than $5.5 billion hole in its ledger, allegedly moved out by its former owners and oligarchs Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Bogolyubov via fraudulent schemes.
The bail-in, which was carried out during the nationalization of PrivatBank in December 2016, provided a write-off of the bank’s debts to a number of creditors for a total of over $1 billion.
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