Court overturns order to freeze Gazprom assets in England, Wales
A UK court on September 13 overturned a June 18 order to freeze Gazprom assets in England and Wales, the Russian gas giant has reported.
Naftogaz Ukrainy is trying through international courts to collect $2.6 billion from Gazprom awarded by Stockholm arbitration rulings. Gazprom is challenging these rulings, but the Ukrainian company does not want to wait for the appeal to be heard.
The freeze on assets in UK jurisdiction is more painful for Gazprom, as it limits the company's access to the global financial market, putting deals to raise funds through eurobonds or club loans at risk of being frozen in Naftogaz lawsuits. Gazprom had to call off a deal to place eurobonds in pounds in June. The company also prefers not to make its latest bilateral loans public.
Gazprom finance and economics department head Alexander Ivannikov said earlier that the company "sees some increase in risks on the money market related to the transfer of money in the UK."
"We have taken a pause in regard to some instruments in order to discuss this issue with lawyers, so as to completely eliminate any risks in regard to our funds that might be frozen in the UK," he said.
Gazprom said in the statement that the freeze was lifted on the condition that the company assume the obligation to not dispose of shares in Nord Stream AG until the UK court hearings on the matter of recognizing and enforcing the February 28, 2018 Stockholm arbitration ruling on the gas transit case are concluded. A hearing is tentatively scheduled for February 2019.
Gazprom said earlier that its stake in Nord Stream AG is, in any case, held as collateral for project financing.
Meanwhile, a Swedish court granted Naftogaz Ukrainy's motion to overturn the order to suspend the enforcement of the Stockholm arbitration ruling. Gazprom said it intends to challenge this ruling.
Gazprom will continue to defend its rights by all available means under the law, the Russian company said.