Sanctioned Russian Oligarch Rotenberg Sues Nordic Banks

Russian businessman Boris Rotenberg, who is under U.S. sanctions over the Ukraine conflict due to his close ties with President Vladimir Putin, has filed suit against four Nordic banks, accusing them of discrimination, a court said on Monday, according to Finnish news outlet Yle.

The lawsuit presented by Boris Rotenberg accuses Nordea, Danske Bank, Handelsbanken and OP Bank of refusing to let him make payments and of violating his right to equal treatment as an EU citizen.

Rotenberg also holds a Finnish passport and is not subject to European sanctions over Russia’s role in Ukraine, but European banks must comply with the U.S. measures in order to do business with American banks.

“A systematic choice was made in drafting the EU sanctions lists that no EU citizens would be included in the lists, even if they had been flagged by the U.S. presidential administration on their (…) list,” Rotenberg wrote in the complaint, which was filed at Helsinki district court on Oct. 4.

Rotenberg asked the court to oblige Handelsbanken to accept money transfers for 210,000 euros (about US$240,000) that he has made to his own account at the bank.

He also sought an order forcing Nordea, Danske Bank and OP Bank to let him make payment transactions, demanding 10,000 euros in damages from Handelsbanken and 20,000 euros each from Nordea, Danske Bank and OP Bank.

61-year-old Rotenberg is co-owner (with his brother Arkady Rotenberg) of the Stroygazmontazh (SGM) group, the largest construction company for gas pipelines and electrical power supply lines in Russia. He was listed by Forbes as Russia’s 69th wealthiest person in 2016 with a net worth of $1.07 billion.