Ukraine’s parliament takes step towards nationalization of Russian-owned Sense Bank

12 April, 01:35 PM
It is noted that depositors will not experience any effects from the bank’s nationalization (Photo:Sense Bank press office)

It is noted that depositors will not experience any effects from the bank’s nationalization (Photo:Sense Bank press office)

The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, passed bill No. 9107-1 at first reading on April 11, which lays down the grounds to nationalize the Russian-owned Sense Bank – former Alfa-Bank Ukraine, according to the parliament’s website.

The bill concerns the procedure for the withdrawal of banks owned by sanctioned individuals from the market.

The document authorizes the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), under certain circumstances related to the application of sanctions to the bank or the owners of a significant stake in the bank, to make a decision on the following:

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  • banning a sanctioned person from acquiring or increasing a significant share in the bank;
  • introducing the possibility of withdrawing a systemically important bank from the market (nationalization) in the absence of signs of insolvency (sanctions are blocked if applied to the bank or the owner of a significant share in it).

The process of a bank’s nationalization actually begins if, after the NBU’s decision to withdraw such a bank from the market, the state agrees to participate in the conclusion.

The explanatory note to the bill states that depositors will not experience any effects from the bank’s nationalization.

In December 2022, Alfa-Bank Ukraine rebranded to Sense Bank – to avoid association with Russia’s Alfa-Bank.

Earlier, NBU Governor Andriy Pyshnyy said that the issue of recapitalization of Sense Bank had been discussed, but the submission of documents had not taken place.

On Oct. 26, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy enacted a bill on the special procedure for withdrawing a systemic bank from the market under martial law.

At that time, there were 14 systemically important banks in Ukraine, but experts assume that this mainly concerned Alfa-Bank (the future Sense Bank).

NBU First Deputy Governor Kateryna Rozhkova earlier said that she saw no reason to nationalize Sense Bank.

In March, there were reports that Russian oligarchs Mykhailo Friedman and Perto Aven could sell their shares in Sense Bank to a Polish investor.

In late March 2022, the NBU declared that the business reputations of Sense Bank shareholders were not impeccable and banned them from using their voting rights to 100% of the bank’s shares.

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