ABH Holdings S.A., owned by Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman, has initiated legal action against Ukraine, seeking over $1 billion in compensation for what it claims is the unlawful expropriation of Sense Bank (formerly Alfa Bank) through forced nationalization.
Russian Oligarch Mikhail Fridman
The lawsuit, filed with the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) under the World Bank’s auspices in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 29, marks a significant test of the rule of law in the West, according to ABHH’s statement.
Claiming violations of the Treaty between the Belgo-Luxembourg Economic Union and the Government of Ukraine on the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments, the company accuses Ukraine of “corporate raiding and war profiteering” in the nationalization, asserting that Sense Bank was unlawfully taken from its rightful owners.
The National Bank of Ukraine, on July 20, withdrew Sense Bank from the market as systemically important, seeking Cabinet of Ministers’ participation. Subsequently, on July 22, Ukraine nationalized the bank with a nominal purchase of 1 UAH ($0.03). President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has endorsed the government’s support for the regulator’s decision regarding Sense Bank.