Supreme Court postpones hearing of case about Surkis' deposits in PrivatBank, lawfulness of bail-in for indefinite period
The Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court has postponed the hearing of a cassation appeal of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), the Finance Ministry and PrivatBank against rulings of courts of lower instances with regard to the Surkis family, which achieved the invalidation of the decisions of the NBU declared them persons affiliated with Privatbank and the bail-in agreement on exchange of their funds in the bank in the amount over UAH 1 billion to the bank's shares (bail-in) later purchased by the state for UAH 1.
According to Head of the claims department of the NBU legal department Viktor Hrihorchuk, the Supreme Court made such a decision on Friday in connection with a government motion to replace the party from the Finance Ministry with the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
"Justifying its petition, the Cabinet of Ministers said that the state represented by the Cabinet is the owner of the bank and that the responsibility for the results of this case will be assigned to the owner of this bank — the state represented by the Cabinet. Therefore, the court, after hearing all the arguments of the parties in this lawsuit, decided to replace the Finance Ministry as a party [in the case] with the Cabinet of Ministers and postponed the hearing of this case for an indefinite period," he said, adding that the date and time of the hearing of this case will be announced additionally to the parties.
As reported, the sixth administrative court of appeals has suspended the hearing of a counterclaim against a ruling of the district administrative court dated April 18, 2019, which invalidated the nationalization of PrivatBank until the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court completes hearing the lawsuit filed by the Surkis family under a petition of PrivatBank.
On December 16, the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court announced a break until January 31 in hearing a cassation appeal of the NBU, the Finance Ministry and PrivatBank against rulings of the courts of lower instances in litigation with the Surkis family. The postponement was due to the need to study the case materials by the Prosecutor General's Office (PGO).
PrivatBank, according to available information, had previously executed the decision of the trial court and the court of appeal in favor of the Surkis family. However, for the National Bank, the Finance Ministry and the bank, in addition to these payments, it is important to defend the legality of the bail-in procedure, if the bank loses to the Surkis family, it is more likely that other participants in this procedure will go to court for a total of over UAH 29 billion. In addition, its recognition as illegal will call into question the entire nationalization of PrivatBank.