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Blacklisted Russian banks appeal to ECJ against EU sanctions

Blacklisted Russian banks appeal to ECJ against EU sanctions

MOSCOW: Sanctions which tumble Russian economy and its financial sector, now challenged in European Court of Justice (ECJ) here the other day. Two biggest lenders Sberbank and VTB, as well as Russia’s foreign development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) have appealed to the European Court of Justice against EU sanctions, saying there was not enough evidence for their introduction.

The lenders also say the sanctions are illegal, as they violated WTO rules and some international agreements.

The sanctions imposed in July on Russian banks banned some of the biggest lenders from getting long-term borrowing from the international financial markets.

The sanctions criterion stipulates that “key credit organizations or other development institutions where the government has or controls more than 50 percent,” should be blacklisted. Another group of companies include the firms that contribute to improving Russia’s competitiveness, diversification and stimulate investment.

All of the three lenders claim they don’t completely fall under this criterion.

VTB says limiting the access of Russian banks to international capital markets violates several articles of the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services, which refer to ensuring equal access to markets.

As for the VEB, its representatives say there was an obvious error in the facts, as well as a lack of evidence for making such a decision. VEB said it was deprived of its basic rights, including the right to effective judicial protection. VEB representatives believe the sanctions have different goals than those that were claimed.

Sberbank, VTB and VEB have already appealed to the court to annul the EU sanctions. Sberbank, in particular, has asked to have the restrictions removed.