Dutch Court Declares Bankruptcy of Russia-Linked Amsterdam Trade Bank

By BLOOMBERG / Pic by AFP

Amsterdam Trade Bank (ATB), a lender linked to Russia’s Alfa Group, was declared bankrupt in the Netherlands after it couldn’t make payments because of U.S. and U.K. sanctions against Moscow.  

The Amsterdam District Court declared the lender bankrupt on Friday, with the central bank activating a deposit guarantee for account holders, according to a statement Friday from the monetary authority. ATB said in its statement that it applied for bankruptcy.

ATB was not subject to European Union sanctions but “British and U.S. sanctions caused payment system problems for the bank,” a spokesperson for the trustees appointed by the court said by phone. “The bank couldn’t make any payments anymore.” 

“U.K. and U.S. sanctions have caused operational difficulties, as the majority of ATB’s counterparties, including corresponding banks and infrastructure providers, find it difficult to continue supporting ATB,” the bank said in a statement on its website.

Assets and Customers

ATB has 23,000 private account holders, most of whom are resident in the Netherlands, and about 6,000 customers live in Germany, according to the Dutch central bank. ATB, which has been operating in the Netherlands since 1994, had over 1.2 billion euros in assets, according to a 2020 report.

The central bank said it will pay eligible ATB account holders a maximum of 100,000 euros per person. There is an additional guarantee for money in accounts that are temporarily held in connection with the purchase and sale of an owner-occupied home, up to a maximum of 500,000 euros.

The amount guaranteed by the deposit guarantee program is around 700 million euros, according to the central bank. The Dutch deposit guarantee fund had more than 3 billion euros in assets by the end of 2021.

Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad, or FD, reported earlier Friday that the management of the lender, invested in via Alfa Group by sanctioned billionaire Mikhail Fridman, was considering the sale of ATB. FD also reported that a number Dutch banks are halting transactions with ATB and depositors were unable to access their money.

Dutch banks ING and Rabobank confirmed the freezing of transactions with ATB to Bloomberg on Friday.