Rotenberg loses sanctions suit against Nordic banks - Metro US

Rotenberg loses sanctions suit against Nordic banks

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Boris Rotenberg, a Russian businessman under U.S. sanctions over the Ukraine conflict due to his close ties with President Vladimir Putin, on Monday lost a discrimination lawsuit he filed in a Finnish court against four Nordic banks.

“Helsinki District Court has rejected Boris Rotenberg’s complaint over the right to banking services and damages for discrimination,” the court said in a statement.

Rotenberg, who also holds Finnish citizenship, accused Nordea , Danske Bank , Handelsbanken and OP Bank of refusing to allow him to make payments and of violating his right to equal treatment as an EU citizen.

The court said Rotenberg had failed to prove he was a person living in the European Economic Area and therefore he was not entitled to basic banking services in Finland.

It also ruled the banks’ concerns of significant financial risks related to Rotenberg’s transactions were not unfounded.

Rotenberg is not subject to EU sanctions over Russia’s role in Ukraine but European banks must comply with the U.S. sanctions in order to do business with U.S. banks.

The court ordered Rotenberg to pay the banks’ legal expenses, amounting to around 530,000 euros ($589,360).

“The statement of judgment reflects Handelsbanken’s view of the matter and we are pleased with the outcome,” Handelsbanken said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

OP said it was reviewing the court’s decision and declined to comment. The other banks were not available for immediate comment.

Russian oligarchs and companies have tried to challenge sanctions in different courts since they were imposed starting in 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

In one of the most prominent cases Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska sued the United States last year, alleging that it had overstepped its legal bounds in imposing sanctions on him.

(Reporting by Anne Kauranen and Tarmo Virki; editing by Jason Neely)

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