Finland seizes hundreds of Russian freight cars as EU sanctions bite

* This content was produced in Russia, where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine

MOSCOW, July 5 (Reuters) - Finland has seized nearly a thousand freight cars belonging to Russian companies as a result of European Union sanctions, according to Finnish state-owned rail operator VR and a letter from Russia's rail monopoly seen by Reuters.

As Finland's VR moved to reduce railway traffic with Russia after the EU sanctioned Russian coal supplies in April, 865 rail cars from Russia were seized by bailiffs, according to the June 6 dated letter from Russian Railways to the Ministry of Transport.

Finnish bailiff authority told Reuters it has had frozen assets of a few dozen of Russian and Belarusian individuals and legal entities, including transportation firms, worth at least 82 million euros, to comply with EU sanctions.

VR's spokeswoman Taina Kuitunen confirmed by email that there were "around 800 units of sanctioned (freight) cars in Finland at the moment" and the company sought to return the non-seized ones to Russia as soon as possible.

VR's head of logistics told Finnish media in March that around 5,000 Russian rail cars were in Finland when it decided to suspend traffic, and while his company wanted to send them back, bailiffs ordered some to be seized.

The seized rail cars belong to companies either directly hit by EU sanctions or whose shareholders gave up their control because they got hit by sanctions after Russia sent its troops into Ukraine in late February.

Uralchem-Trans, whose former owner, Dmitry Mazepin, ceded control after coming under EU sanctions in March, did not reply to request for a comment, and the state leasing company GTLK, under EU sanctions itself, declined comment.

Rusagrotrans, part of Demetra Holding where sanctions-hit state bank VTB VTBR.MM ceded control to other investors in February, also declined comment.

The fourth company whose cars were seized, Alpha Leasing, has lodged an appeal to a Finnish court against an "unlawful" move by Finnish bailiffs, said Andrey Barkov, head of corporate business. Alpha Leasing is a unit of sanctions-hit Alfa Bank.

Russian Railways declined comment and the Ministry of Transport did not reply to a request for comment.
Reporting by Reuters and Anne Kauranen in Helsinki Editing by Tomasz Janowski

Disclaimer: The XM Group entities provide execution-only service and access to our Online Trading Facility, permitting a person to view and/or use the content available on or via the website, is not intended to change or expand on this, nor does it change or expand on this. Such access and use are always subject to: (i) Terms and Conditions; (ii) Risk Warnings; and (iii) Full Disclaimer. Such content is therefore provided as no more than general information. Particularly, please be aware that the contents of our Online Trading Facility are neither a solicitation, nor an offer to enter any transactions on the financial markets. Trading on any financial market involves a significant level of risk to your capital.

All material published on our Online Trading Facility is intended for educational/informational purposes only, and does not contain – nor should it be considered as containing – financial, investment tax or trading advice and recommendations; or a record of our trading prices; or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instruments; or unsolicited financial promotions to you.

Any third-party content, as well as content prepared by XM, such as: opinions, news, research, analyses, prices and other information or links to third-party sites contained on this website are provided on an “as-is” basis, as general market commentary, and do not constitute investment advice. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, it would be considered as marketing communication under the relevant laws and regulations. Please ensure that you have read and understood our Notification on Non-Independent Investment. Research and Risk Warning concerning the foregoing information, which can be accessed here.

We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. Read more or change your cookie settings.

Risk Warning: Your capital is at risk. Leveraged products may not be suitable for everyone. Please consider our Risk Disclosure.