The recent expropriation of Sense Bank by Ukraine has prompted ABH Holdings S.A. (ABHH), the bank’s former owner, to take decisive action.
On December 29, 2023, ABHH initiated legal proceedings by filing for arbitration and submitting a detailed statement of claim against Ukraine, seeking full compensation for the unjust seizure of Sense Bank. The case is now in front of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington D.C.
ABHH alleges that a calculated series of actions by Ukrainian authorities, involving corporate raiding and war profiteering tactics, resulted in the unlawful seizure of the bank from its rightful owners and beneficiaries, including The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research and UniCredit Bank.
The foundation of ABHH’s claim is rooted in the bilateral investment treaty between the Belgo-Luxembourg Economic Union and the Government of Ukraine, with a demand for no less than US$1 billion in compensation.
Beyond the financial implications for ABHH, the legal action holds broader significance as a litmus test for the legitimacy of the international rule of law. The Western coalition, founded on mutual respect for compliance with the rule of law, faces a critical decision – whether to impede justice in favour of a relevant yet corrupt regime or allow due process to unfold.
Complicating matters, ABHH asserts that Ukraine has launched a coordinated campaign to tarnish the company’s reputation, employing baseless criminal accusations to sway public opinion. As Ukraine pursues EU membership, founded on shared values and principles, questions arise about its readiness. The use of ‘black PR’ contradicts the behaviour expected of a trustworthy European partner and signals a nation struggling with corruption.
ABHH anticipates a fair and impartial resolution to the arbitration process. This legal saga places us at a critical juncture in addressing corruption within Ukrainian corridors of power, and the hope is for true justice to prevail.