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    Ukraine Applies to US Courts for Gazprom Info

Summary

Ukrainian state gas company, Naftogaz, is trying to extract funds that Gazprom is obliged to pay as a result of an award made last February.

by: William Powell

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Ukraine Applies to US Courts for Gazprom Info

State-owned Naftogaz Ukrainy will, in the coming days, serve subpoenas on three US companies which it believes can help it recover the $2.6bn due following an arbitration award against Gazprom last February, the Ukrainian company said December 13.

US courts have approved its December 6 requests to seek information at Glas Americas, Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas and Bank of New York, but not for two other companies requested. 

Finance-administration firm, Glas Americas, is likely to have information about the location of Gazprom's shares in its wholly-owned Swiss subsidiary Nord Stream 2 AG. Naftogaz seeks information about the location of the Nord Stream 2 shares in order to file an action in Switzerland.

Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas is the US correspondent bank for the Moscow-headquartered bank Gazprombank, where Gazprom maintains an account. Gazprombank has a Swiss affiliate, Gazprombank (Switzerland) Ltd. Naftogaz is seeking information from Deutsche Bank about Gazprom's transactions with Gazprombank (Switzerland) Ltd., including account numbers, in order to file an action in Switzerland to attach the funds in those accounts.

The Bank of New York Mellon manages Gazprom's American Depository Receipt programme. The Bank of New York is likely to have information about the recent transfers that Gazprom made of its shares in certain of its Dutch subsidiaries. Naftogaz is seeking this information in order to file an action in the Netherlands against Gazprom for fraudulent conveyance. The Bank of New York is also likely to have information about the location of the Nord Stream 2 shares and information about Gazprom's bank accounts in Switzerland.

The two companies unapproved by the courts are DeGolyer & MacNaughton (D&M) and Gazprom Marketing and Trading US (GMTUS). D&M is an oil and gas consultancy that serves as auditor of Gazprom's oil and gas reserves and is likely to have information about Gazprom's upstream oil and gas projects, the corporate structure of those projects, and any plans to change their ownership structure. GMTUS is an indirect subsidiary of Gazprom and is likely to have information about the recent transfers that Gazprom made of its shares in certain of its Dutch subsidiaries, about Gazprom's bank accounts in Switzerland, and about the location of Gazprom's shares in Nord Stream 2. 

Gazprom has refused to accept the arbitration decision, calling it "asymmetrical". So far Naftogaz has only been able to withhold money due to Gazprom as overpayment for transit services, amounting to a tiny proportion of the total amount due.