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Report: Ukrainian court orders to unfreeze shares of Sberbank's local unit

A Ukrainian court of first instance ordered to unfreeze the shares of PAO Sberbank of Russia's Ukrainian unit Sberbank JSC, economic news portal Finbalance and Kommersant reported.

The shares of Sberbank Ukraine and other local units of Russian state-owned banks were frozen in September 2018 as part of court proceedings launched by companies affiliated with Ukrainian businessman Ihor Kolomoisky. The companies filed their lawsuits following the May 2018 ruling of The Hague Arbitration Court, which stated that the Russian Federation should compensate them for real estate seized in Crimea following the annexation of the peninsula by Russia, and ordered the collection of $139 million from the Russian state.

The commercial court accepted Sberbank of Russia's arguments that the unit's shares are not the property of the Russian state and they belong to Sberbank, which is not a debtor under the arbitration dispute, Finbalance noted in its Oct. 17 report.

This verdict could be a positive sign for Sberbank and other local units of Russian state-controlled banks, although it remains to be seen if it will reverse the existing trend, as to date Ukrainian courts have ruled against Russian banks in similar cases, Kommersant noted.