Russia freezes assets of largest US bank

 In a significant legal development, a court in St. Petersburg has ordered the freezing of assets belonging to US banking giant JPMorgan Chase in Russia. This ruling was issued in response to a lawsuit filed by VTB, Russia's second-largest lender, aimed at recovering $439.5 million that had been blocked abroad due to US-led sanctions.

VTB initiated legal proceedings against JPMorgan and its subsidiaries in the Arbitration Court of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region on April 17, with court filings revealing the details on Monday. The court's order specifically targeted funds held by JPMorgan in its Russian accounts, as well as its interests in movable and immovable property, including a stake in a Russian subsidiary.

The dispute revolves around the $439.5 million that VTB had held in a JPMorgan account in the US, which was frozen by US authorities as part of sanctions related to the Ukraine conflict in 2022. The court's decision encompasses the seizure of all funds in JPMorgan's bank accounts in Russia, including correspondent accounts and those linked to its subsidiary.

VTB expressed concerns that JPMorgan was attempting to withdraw its assets from Russia, prompting the Russian lender to seek urgent measures to recover the funds. In response, JPMorgan filed its own lawsuit against VTB in the Southern District of New York, seeking to prevent VTB from accessing the frozen funds, citing US legal restrictions.

JPMorgan has acknowledged concerns that VTB may target its Russian assets, given previous rulings favoring local lenders against international banks complying with sanctions laws. The next hearing in the ongoing legal battle between JPMorgan and VTB is scheduled for July 17, indicating continued tensions and legal complexities surrounding the case.


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