Amsterdam Trade Bank, A Subsidiary Of Russia Alfa Bank Declares Bankruptcy
The Amsterdam court has declared the Amsterdam Trade Bank bankrupt on Friday. This will directly affect 23,000 savers. The Dutch State is assisting through a deposit guarantee scheme and guarantees savings of up to 100,000 euros, regulator DNB reports on its website.
In total, 700 million euros will have to be called on from the deposit guarantee scheme. This currently contains a total of 3 billion euros.
ATB, which is indirectly in Russian hands, cites ‘operational difficulties’ as the cause of the bankruptcy because the United States and the United Kingdom have placed the bank on the sanction list. Other banks find it “difficult to continue to support us,” ATB writes in a press statement. Anyone who does business with a company that has been placed on the sanctions list is breaking the rules.
Earlier in the day it appeared that customers of the Amsterdam Trade Bank could no longer access their account. Savings were temporarily frozen. The bank is said to have taken measures to prevent a so-called bank run on savings. On Thursday, the FD already revealed that the bank is in the shop window.
Amsterdam Trade Bank is a relatively small bank located on the Amsterdam Zuidas. In recent years, the bank has provided loans to shipping companies, among other things. Since 2021, the company has focused on small loans for SMEs. According to the most recent annual report from 2020, savers also had 370 million euros in outstanding savings. The balance sheet total was relatively small at 1.2 billion euros.
Four Russian Oligarchs
Via a stepped construction, ATB is largely in the hands of four Russian owners who have been subject to sanctions. These are the oligarchs Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven, Alexei Kuzmichov and German Khan.
Amsterdam Trade Bank is a subsidiary of Alfa Bank, Russia’s largest private bank. Fridman and his three business partners are founders of Alfa Bank, in which they still own a combined 82 percent stake.
The ATB itself is not on the EU sanctions list. Neither does parent company Alfa Bank. However, Alfa Bank is on the sanctions list of the British and Americans. For individuals, their companies will be affected if they have an interest of 50 percent or more in them. ATB thus seemed to escape the EU sanctions, but recently it became clear that the interests can be added together. This would mean that the Netherlands could still decide, for example, to freeze dividend payments to the owners.
Previously raid FIOD
The ATB has been in the interest of the tax investigation service FIOD and DNB for years. In 2017, the FIOD raided ATB on suspicion of violation of the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Prevention) Act. ATB accounts would be used to launder, among other things, Russian money flows. In this way, the bank would be involved in the scandal surrounding telecom company Vimpelcom. He was guilty of bribery and forgery for years. The Fiod investigation into ATB is still ongoing.
Three Dutch supervisory directors are active at the ATB, including former DNB director Lex Hoogduin. They previously told NRC that they saw no reason to resign in the sanctions against the four owners.