The Russian businessman Boris Rotenberg, who has come under US sanctions due to the conflict in Ukraine and his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, lost a lawsuit against four Scandinavian banks in a Finnish court on Monday.
“The Helsinki District Court has dismissed Boris Rotenberg’s lawsuit regarding the right to banking services and damage from discrimination,” the court said in a statement.
Rotenberg, who also has Finnish citizenship, filed a lawsuit against Nordea, Danske Bank, Handelsbanken and OP Bank for not allowing him to make payments. He accused them of violating his right to equality of services as an EU citizen.
The court found that Rotenburg was unable to prove that he lives in the European Economic Zone and has a right to basic banking services in Finland.
The court also ruled that the banks’ fears regarding the significant financial risks associated with Rotenberg’s transactions were not unfounded. Rotenberg is not under EU sanctions in connection with Russia’s role in Ukraine, but European banks must comply with US sanctions in order to do business with American banks.
The court also ordered Rotenberg to cover the banks’ legal expenses, which amounted to roughly €530,000.
“The court’s decision is in line with Handelsbanken’s perspective on this matter, and we are satisfied with the result,” Handelsbanken said in a comment sent by email to Reuters.
OP Bank said that it was looking into the court decision, but did not wish to comment. No comments could be obtained from the other banks.
Russian oligarchs and companies have repeatedly tried to dispute the sanctions in various courts. Last year the magnate Oleg Deripaska filed a lawsuit against the US, demanding the lifting of the sanctions against him.