Russian court orders seizure of JPMorgan Chase funds in VTB lawsuit

By Thomson Reuters Apr 24, 2024 | 4:07 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Russian court has ordered the seizure of funds in JPMorgan Chase bank accounts in Russia, court filings showed on Wednesday, in a lawsuit filed by state-owned bank VTB as it seeks to regain funds blocked abroad.

JP Morgan Chase last week sued VTB in New York to halt its efforts to recover $439.5 million from an account that was blocked after Russia despatched its army to Ukraine in 2022 and VTB was hit with sanctions.

JPMorgan Chase declined to comment on the Russian court’s interim measures. VTB did not immediately comment on Wednesday. It has previously declined to comment on its legal disputes with JPMorgan Chase.

The Arbitration Court of St Petersburg and the Leningrad Region’s ruling was dated April 22.

The court said it had ordered the seizure of all funds in JP Morgan bank accounts in Russia, including correspondent accounts and those opened in the name of a subsidiary. The court said it had not seized securities and property held by JP Morgan funds, or the jpmorgan.ru domain.

In a complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan earlier this month, JPMorgan described VTB’s attempt to recover the money in Russia as a “blatant breach” of its agreement to have disputes addressed in New York.

The largest U.S. bank said U.S. law prohibits it from releasing the $439.5 million, and VTB, Russia’s second-largest bank, will try to seize its assets abroad if it prevails in the Russia lawsuit.

It said VTB’s prospects there were good, with Russian courts having granted at least six other Russian banks relief against U.S. and European banks that were required to comply with sanctions laws.

(Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya and Alexander Marrow; editing by Barbara Lewis)