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US bank, Russia to discuss settlement

US bank, Russia to discuss settlement

Russian authorities and the Bank of New York Mellon will discuss a possible settlement this week of the $22.5 billion case filed by the country's customs service against the bank, a Moscow court heard on Tuesday.
The Moscow Arbitration Court adjourned hearings in the case until April 14 at the Customs Service's request so that settlement talks could be held. The bank's lead Russian counsel, Ivan Marisin, told the court that discussions are expected this week.
The two-year-long case stems from a decade-old scandal in which a bank vice president and her husband were accused of illegally moving $7.5 billion of Russian money into accounts at the bank, before sending the money to accounts worldwide. The pair pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money and were given suspended sentences, but the bank itself was not charged.
Russian authorities are claiming lost tax revenues on the transfers.
In a highly unusual move, Russia brought the case under U.S. law used to fight organized crime. The law allows claimants to seek up to three times the amount of the estimated damages.
The court heard on Tuesday that the bank's Russian lawyers unexpectedly received a proposal in February from the customs service to discuss a settlement.
The bank's lead outside counsel Jonathan Schiller said the meeting would not likely feature trial lawyers from the two sides.
"I can't put myself into the mind of the government, but they are obviously most likely to compromise this case," he said in a statement. "We will look for ways to do it with them."
Russian media reported last week that the customs service offered to settle the case for $800 million.
Schiller called that amount "nonsense," according to a separate statement. He said that "a more reasonable place to start would be $1.4 million" _ which he said was in line with the amount earned on money transfers out of Russia by the former vice president, Lucy Edwards.
Marisin told The Associated Press that the bank had always insisted that a "reasonable settlement" was possible.


Updated : 2020-12-03 05:42 GMT+08:00