Market Commentary

Moscow Court Allows Seizure of Millions from JPM & Commerzbank

Jahanzeb Salam
14 May 2024 · 2 minutes read

In a recent development, a Moscow court issued a preliminary ruling authorizing the seizure of approximately €12.4 million ($13.34 million) worth of assets belonging to a European subsidiary of JPMorgan (JPM:US) and Germany's Commerzbank (CRZBY:US) within Russia. The ruling, dated April 26, stems from a case filed by Russia's Transkapitalbank, a financial institution subjected to Western sanctions following Russia's involvement in the Ukraine conflict back in 2022.

The court's decision, as outlined in the official document, cited the imposition of sanctions against Transkapitalbank by the U.S. Treasury on April 20, 2022, as the basis for the application. This move adds to the growing concerns among Western banks and corporations regarding the safety of their assets and investments in Russia amidst escalating tensions and retaliatory measures following the imposition of sanctions.

In response to Western sanctions, Russia has undertaken various actions such as asset seizures, changes in management within Western companies' subsidiaries, and pressuring departing firms to sell their assets at significant discounts. This environment has led to the departure of approximately 1,000 companies from Russia, although many, including major players like French retailer Auchan and Benetton, are still navigating operations or have temporarily suspended business activities in the country, according to analysis conducted by Yale School of Management.

Despite these significant developments, Transkapitalbank has yet to provide immediate responses to inquiries regarding the case. Similarly, both JPMorgan and Commerzbank, which have already downsized their presence in Russia, have chosen not to comment on the court ruling.

While the news of the court's decision was initially reported by Interfax last week, it gained further traction this week with coverage by various German media outlets, including Handelsblatt.

On the U.S. congressional trading front, Congressman Ro Khanna's recent investments in the banking company may be considered as a potential signal of trust in the bank. Within the month of April, he made three purchase transactions, accumulating a total value of $80,000.