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Ukraine Opposes Tatneft Which Says War Is Tragedy But Wants Money as UN Stonewalls

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, March 2 – Ukraine, fending off troops on its borders and separately an arbitral award to Tatneft, cited both in arguments before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn on February 17. Inner City Press live tweeted it (more on Patreon here), thread here and below.

  Reference was made to a case in the District for the District of Columbia with the same parties, and Inner City Press which covers DDC tracked it down. Meanwhile Inner City Press day after day asked the United Nations in writings about the case and the issues presented - no answer at all, despite UNSG Antonio Guterres' bloviating claims about his deep concern on Ukraine.

On March 2, Tatneft wrote to Judge Netburn, "The war in Ukraine is a tragedy. But it has no relationship to the July 19 Order or the non-party subpoenas served on financial institutions that are the subject of that order. As this Court and others have recognized, Tatneft is a publicly traded company, not an arm of the Russian government." This as it emerged that the UN had Russian intelligence among its staff. From the UN, no answers to the Press.

 On February 28, this: "AMENDED MOTION to Quash, Modify, or Enter Protective Order as to Subpoenas served on JSC State Export-Import Bank of Ukraine, Bank Polska Kasa Opieki SA, Deutsche Bundesbank, Reserve Bank of Australia, AB SEB bankas, Bank of Montreal, Barclays Bank plc, Barclays Capital Inc., BMO Capital Markets Corp., BMO Financial Corp., BNP Paribas, BNP Paribas Fortis SA/NV, BNP Paribas USA, Inc., Citibank N.A., Citigroup Global Markets Ltd., Citigroup Inc., Commerz Markets LLC, Commerzbank AG, Credit Suisse (Switzerland) Ltd., Credit Suisse (USA), Inc., Credit Suisse AG, Danske Bank A/S, Danske Markets Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, Deutsche Bank Trust Corporation, DNB Bank ASA, DNB Capital LLC, DNB Markets, Inc., HSBC Bank plc, HSBC North America Holdings Inc., J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, J.P. Morgan Securities plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co., JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A.,, MUFG Americas Holding Corporation, MUFG Bank, Ltd., MUFG Securities Americas Inc., Raiffeisen Bank International, AG, RB International Markets (USA) LLC, Santander Bank Polska S.A., SEB Securities, Inc., Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Ltd., Standard Chartered Bank plc, Standard Chartered Securities (North America) LLC, The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, UBS AG, UBS Americas Holdings LLC, UBS Americas Inc., UBS Switzerland AG, UniCredit Bank AG, and UniCredit Capital Markets LLC . Document filed by Ukraine."

  In the DDC case, US DOJ has asked for Ukraine's time to respond with discovery to be extended: "The United States of America, by and through undersigned counsel, hereby respectfully advises the Court that the United States is considering participating in this litigation as allowed by 28 U.S.C. § 517. That statute authorizes the Attorney General of the United States to send any officer of the Department of Justice to “attend to the interests of the United States in a suit pending in a court of the United States, or in the courts of a State, or to attend to any other interest of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 517. As this Court knows, PAO Tatneft (“Tatneft”) seeks information from Ukraine and nineteen non-party entities through discovery in aid of execution of Tatneft’s 2014 foreign arbitral award entered against Ukraine, which was confirmed by this Court. See Dkt. No. 50. Ukraine has argued that Tatneft’s document requests are overbroad and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of attachable property in the United States to satisfy the judgment of this Court. See Dkt. No. 81. Ukraine has also expressed serious concerns that any information provided to Tatneft would be shared with the Russian Federation government, pointing out that the Chairman of Tatneft’s Board is the Head of Tatarstan, a political subdivision of the Russian Federation, and that Tatarstan retains a golden share interest in the company with a veto power over important decisions. Sharing such information with the Russian Federation would, according to Ukraine, undermine its national security and economic interests at a particularly sensitive time. See Dkt. No. 90. Yesterday, President Putin authorized troops deployed into Ukrainian territory without Ukraine’s consent; events on the ground are moving quickly and look extremely threatening to Ukraine’s national security. The United States recognizes that the Court has already granted Tatneft’s motion to compel and established a schedule for the production of documents. See Dkt. Nos. 83, 89. The United States also understands that, on February 18, 2022, Ukraine moved for an extension of its February 28, 2022 production deadline, representing that Ukraine recently amended its regulations “to include an express authorization to provide security in foreign judicial proceedings” and that Ukraine is exploring ways to provide a security in order to seek a stay of further proceedings. Dkt. No. 98. In light of the current international crisis, the United States is actively considering whether to file a Statement of Interest with the Court addressing U.S. foreign policy interests potentially implicated by discovery proceedings before this Court. The process for deciding whether to file a Statement of Interest is underway and involves coordination among multiple government agencies and the approval of the U.S. Department of Justice through the Office of the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division To preserve the status quo while those deliberations are ongoing, the United States respectfully requests that the Court grant Ukraine’s motion to extend the current February 28, 2022 production deadline to March 18, 2022."

From February 17: now Ukraine v. PAO Tatneft, in which Ukraine is opposing discovery requests by citing troops on its border. SDNY judge says, I understand, but... Ukraine's lawyer Maria Kostytska: There is no justification for these 52 subpoenas from Tatneft. There are troops on Ukraine's border.

Judge: I understand that. But I am concerned with efficiencies in these two litigations. Ukraine wants a protective order entered - not (just) to protect it militarily, but hear to keep documents in the case secret, from the Press and public. Inner City Press may after research oppose this - this week we won some unsealing, here

Tatneft's lawyer: Ukraine wants to delay. We have subpoena-ed financial institutions. [From docket, involved: #BankOfAmerica,  #WellsFargo, #MorganStanley, #Santander, #CIBC, #CreditAgricole & #GoldmanSachs (which we're covering #EDNY: US v. Ng.

Ukraine: There are discovery proceedings in four Federal courts, in NY and DC. [So what's the 4th?] We are speaking on behalf of the highest levels of Ukraine's government. The Prime Minister is considering this. There is a mediation upcoming.

Ukraine's lawyer: We are not delaying. We are exercising our recourse against an award based on illegal share purchase using promissory notes. We have not waived this due to estoppel. We have not provided on appeal. So we seek certiorari

Tatneft's lawyer: The discovery could be avoided if Ukraine would secure the judgment. The arbitral award is what it is. We are entitled to pursue discovery without further delay. Judge: Maybe Ms. Kostytska tomorrow will have more info from her client [Ukraine]

 Judge: So this is how we're going to proceed -- Ukraine's lawyer: We want to add an additional suggestion, we want reconsideration under Local Rule 6.3, your clear error.

Digging into the docket, we find a declaration by Ukraine citing the US State Department on an "invasion force of 175,000."

   More on Patreon here.

This case is Ukraine v. PAO Tatneft, 21-mc-376 (Koeltl / Netburn)


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