ABH Holdings S.A. reacts: the Ukrainian state continues its unfounded persecution of our minority shareholder, escalating the dispute over the expropriated Sense Bank

The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) has placed Mr. Mikhail Fridman, one of the minority shareholders of ABH Holdings S.A. (ABHH), on the wanted list. This is but the latest step in the escalation of a dispute over an unlawful expropriation of Sense Bank by the Ukrainian state. 

Previous steps included imposition of arbitrary and unlawful Ukrainian sanctions against ABHH and its shareholders, and, finally, the expropriation of Sense Bank.

The SSU's order coincided with the end of the cooling-off period during which the Ukrainian government was under a legal obligation to make a good-faith effort to settle the dispute amicably, as per the Agreement between the Belgo-Luxembourg Economic Union and the Government of Ukraine on the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments (Treaty). Despite ABHH's best efforts to constructively engage with Ukraine in the settlement negotiations, Ukraine has chosen to aggravate the dispute relentlessly. 

Under the Treaty, any expropriation of Luxembourgian investments in Ukraine is illegal. There is only one exception to this rule, which is national security grounds. However, even if that exception were to apply, Ukraine is under a firm obligation to provide full, effective and prompt compensation in the event of expropriation. Ukraine has clearly violated all these obligations.

Other international investors-shareholders of ABHH – UniCredit Bank and The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research – suffered significant harm as a result of illegal actions by Ukraine.

The egregious disregard of its obligations set out in the Treaty is unlikely to make the road to the European Union smoother for Ukraine. European governments should take a good note of how easily Ukraine breaches its international legal obligations with the EU member states. 

The state-sponsored corporate raiding under the thin veneer of abusive and unlawful sanctions should be understood for what it is – a brazen war profiteering. The unfounded criminal charges against our minority shareholder are a cover for the criminal taking of ABHH's assets by the Kyiv government. 

ABHH will continue its fight for the international legal order, including the full and fair compensation for the harm it has suffered as a result of Ukraine breaching international law.

We want to reiterate again that all the allegations made by the SSU against Mr. Mikhail Fridman published in the media are completely baseless and false.




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