Moscow arbitration (commercial) court on 08 June 2017 settled the claim of Transneft against Sberbank and declared void the derivative transaction, as the result of which the claimant suffered large losses. After the court decision’s coming into effect the bank will be obliged to return to Transneft about RUB 67 billion paid by the company to the bank in September 2015 on account of the transaction execution.
Financial institutes responded sharply to the judicial decision. ARB (Association of Russian Banks), NASMP (National Association of Securities Market Participants) and NSMA (National Securities Market Association) made a statement that “Transneft cannot be considered as a weaker party of the contract”. The CB (Central Bank) spoke of “unacceptable legal risks for off-exchange derivative transactions, concluded with Russian non-financial entities” and predicted serious reduction of Russian non-exchange derivatives market.
The claimant’s representative expressed his position. According to the company’s representative, Transneft litigates the only concrete transaction with Sberbank, but not all such transactions with the company’s derivatives or transactions for the purpose of risk hedging. “We litigate legitimacy of the special transaction. We did not conclude such transactions with anybody earlier or later. It is neither a derivative transaction nor a risk-hedging instrument”, - he says. Statements of Sberbank, that the transaction was standard and it is the same as other ones, “contradict the reality”, according to him.
The company’s representative added that the Central Bank’s position was communicated to Transneft by means of a regulator’s letter to Sberbank signed by Shvetsov, Deputy Chairman. “It states that the CB does not have competence for consideration of this dispute. But then it defends Sberbank, where the CB is the principal shareholder. But, as a regulator, in our opinion, the Central Bank did not speak to the point”, - says the Transneft’s representative. He expects that the Central Bank will start regulatory activities at the derivatives market, which further will simplify cooperation with contractors. According to him, the result of the judicial dispute will not influence the company’s collaboration with Sberbank on other projects.