The bankruptcy of Amsterdam Trade Bank, a subsidiary of the Russian giant Alpha Bank

A court in the Dutch capital declared on Friday the bankruptcy of Amsterdam Trade Bank (ATB), a subsidiary of the Russian giant Alpha Bank that has been targeted by sanctions in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, after it was unable to make payments due to US and British sanctions against Moscow. .

Today (Friday) the Amsterdam Court declared bankruptcy Amsterdam Trade NV Bank with its own declaration The court said in a brief statement.

For its part, ATB said in a press release that it has filed for bankruptcy. The Russia-linked bank has 23,000 private account holders, most of whom reside in the Netherlands, and about 6,000 clients live in Germany, according to Dutch central bank data. Operating in the Netherlands since 1994, it has more than 1.2 billion euros in assets, according to a 2020 report.

The heavy impact of British and US sanctions

On April 6, Washington announced the imposition of maximum sanctions on major Russian banks Sberbank and Alpha Bank by freezing all of their assets in contact with the US financial system. On the other hand, ATB is not directly subject to sanctions by the European Union but UK and US sanctions caused problems in the bank’s payment system », a spokesperson for the court-appointed administrators told Bloomberg. And to add to that, The bank can no longer make payments “.

“The UK and US sanctions have caused operational difficulties as the majority of ATB’s counterparties, including banks and corresponding infrastructure service providers, are finding it difficult to continue supporting ATB,” the bank said in a statement. A press release was posted on their website.

The leading Dutch daily Het Financieele Dagblad (HFD) also reported that a number of banks in the country were suspending transactions with ATB and depositors were unable to access their funds. Dutch banks ING and Rabobank confirmed to Bloomberg on Friday that transactions with ATB were frozen.

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Looking for investors

Separately, the HFD reported earlier this week, based on various sources familiar with the matter, that the bank has approached investors through a takeover offer. According to documents submitted to the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, the ultimate beneficial owner of the bank is currently Mikhail Friedman, the Russian-Israeli billionaire who is defying Western sanctions imposed on him in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Its stake in ATB will be more than 25% but not more than 50%.

The Amsterdam Commercial Bank had earlier said in a statement on its website that ” condemnation[ait] Resolutely invade Ukraine “and it was” A war that Russia must stop “.

As a regulated Dutch (European) bank, we act independently of all our shareholders, govern separately and comply with all sanctions against Russia I wrote specific Not to be subject to the latest sanctions announced by the European Union.”

Up to €100,000 to be paid to ATB account holders

According to its annual report for 2020, which is the latest report on file with the Chamber of Commerce, ATB has assets of approximately €1.2 billion and shares of €174 million. He made a profit of 27 million euros that year. The small bank was previously known as trade finance, but in recent years it has sought to become a lender to small and medium-sized businesses.

The central bank has already stated that it will pay eligible ATB account holders a maximum of €100,000 per person. There is an additional guarantee of temporarily held funds in connection with the purchase and sale of owned dwellings, up to a maximum of €500,000.

The amount guaranteed by the deposit guarantee program is around 700 million euros, again according to the central bank. The Dutch Deposit Guarantee Fund had assets of over €3 billion at the end of 2021.

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(with AFP and Reuters)