National Bank of Kazakhstan Loses Claim for Damages After $22.6 Billion Asset Freeze

The Amsterdam District Court denied a $118 million damages claim brought by the National Bank of Kazakhstan (NBK) against the Stati Parties.

NBK claimed it had suffered severe losses after rulings in a Dutch court and a Belgian court in 2017 led to the attachment of sovereign assets held by BNY Mellon worth $22.6 billion.

The court dismissed the claim in its entirety, arguing that “in this case there is no question of an unlawful attachment leading to risk liability,” and that “it cannot be held that the Stati parties abused their powers”. It also ordered NBK to cover the Statis’ legal costs.

The asset attachment was an enforcement measure against Kazakhstan’s continued failure to honour its obligation to pay in excess of $500 million awarded to the Statis by a Swedish arbitral tribunal. The Statis later agreed to limit the attachment to $530 million, the approximate value of the award at the time.

NBK’s decision to file a claim contradicted previous statements by Kazakhstan’s Minister of Justice Marat Beketayev that NBK “had not suffered serious losses” as a result of its policy to frustrate payment of the award.

To date, Kazakhstan continues to refuse payment of the fully adjudicated award.

Read the ruling here.