As a result of the political crisis in Ukraine, which began at the end of 2013, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol came under the actual control of the Russian Federation as far back as in 2014. All branches and offices of Ukrainian banks ceased their activities in these territories. The majority of banks redirected their clients’ current and deposit accounts operations to the mainland Ukraine, and provided these customers with the free access to their funds.
Однак, найбільший український банк – ПАТ КБ «ПРИВАТБАНК» в однобічному порядку без будь яких правових підстав заблокував усі рахунки своїх клієнтів, що були відкриті на зазначених територіях, загальною ємністю 8 млрд. 215 млн. грн. (офіційна інформація, що підтверджується Звітом про фінансову діяльність ПАТ КБ «ПРИВАТБАНК» за 2014 р., розміщеним на офіційному веб-сайті банку).
The funds of all clients who opened the accounts at these territories were blocked, despite their status of legal or physical entities, their remaining in Crimea or forced moving to mainland Ukraine, despite their Ukrainian citizenship or the citizenship of foreign countries. In addition to personal and corporate accounts the donation and social accounts have also been blocked. These accounts accumulated the funds intended to the treatment of the most seriously ill patients, to social welfare payments, etc.
PB was the biggest bank in these territories at the end of March 2014, which rendered its services to 790,000 of private and 12,000 of corporate clients including about 400,000 of depositors.
Some of these clients took the opportunity to reimburse their lost funds with the help of Autonomous Non-profit Organization “Depositor Protection Fund” (hereinafter – DPF). This Russian establishment was launched at the peninsula and committed to reimburse the funds to the individuals whose deposits did not exceed 700,000 RUB and who were registered or actually lived in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol at the moment of the referendum held in 2014 on the status of the Crimea and its entry into the Russian Federation.
In several months after blocking the Crimean accounts, when it became clear that the negotiations with the bank on unblocking the accounts and restoring its services would not be successful, applying to court became the only possible solution to the problem.
In October 2014 attorney Dmytro Duginov initiated the launch of NGO Financial Services Consumer Protection Council to consolidate the efforts on the reimbursement of funds to the Crimean clients of PrivatBank.
The main problem faced by the "Crimean" clients of PrivatBank in 2014-2016 was the bank’s outspokenly blatant position in court. The bank claimed that it allegedly did not have any information about its obligations to Crimean clients, since this data was stolen by the Russian Federation. This circumstance was especially critical for those clients who lacked a partial or complete set of documents confirming the fact of funds transferring to the bank or such documents were drawn in breach of law. In this regard, a certain number of depositors began losing the lawsuits.
An important matter in this situation was the long-awaited receipt by the Financial Services Consumer Protection Council from the bank of the information, which confirmed that the bank still possesses the data on its Crimean clients’ accounts and the scope of obligations to them.
At the beginning of 2016 those depositors who had already gone through all court instances, having received court judgments in their favor, and applied to the State Executive Service for the enforcement of the funds return, faced a new obstacle created by the bank – blocking of the executive service work related to the enforced recovery of funds. Due to the bank’s application to Zhovtnevyi District Court of Dnipropetrovsk, the court forbade the executive service authorities throughout the country to enforce the collection of funds from the bank in favor of its clients. These court decisions were unlawful, but until they remained active it was impossible to collect any funds from the bank. We successfully overruled such decisions, however the same day the Court of Appeal dismissed the decision of Zhovtnevyi District Court that forbade the collection of funds from the bank, Zhovtnevyi District Court made a new decision prohibiting the funds collection, and everything started from scratch.
The practice of such decisions stopped only after the nationalization of the bank at the end of 2016.
The nationalization of the bank in 2016 instilled a great hope in our hearts that now, after the bank became a state-owned bank, it will end its policy of completely ignoring its Crimean clients. We actively started building a dialogue on this matter with the new chairman of the bank's board, Mr. Shlapak, and the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine, which at that time was a 100% shareholder of the bank.
Upon our initiative the chairman of the bank's board Oleksandr Shlapak requested the Ministry of Finance to return the obligations to Crimean clients to the bank's balance sheet and obtain additional capitalization to fulfill these obligations. Unfortunately, additional capitalization did not take place, and the obligations were not returned to the bank's balance sheet.
Despite all of this, we were not going to give up and did not let the state take the issue of Crimean clients off the agenda. Through constant communication with the officials from the President’s Administration, the Ministry of Finance, the bank, and law enforcement authorities we were able to create an opportunity to obtain the confirmation of the bank's obligations to its Crimean clients. Due to our efforts, starting from December 2019, each depositor with an incomplete set of documents or even without the original documents has the opportunity to apply to the court and during the litigation process to receive from the bank the confirmation of the account and account balance.
We and our partners made this possible thanks to the exposure in the media of a scheme for the embezzlement of about UAH 20,000,000,000 from the bank in 2014-2016 through the company "FINILON" which was affiliated with the bank.
Наразі нами розроблено та успішно опробовано декілька шляхів повернення коштів для тих, хто програв ПриватБанку судові процеси раніше.
The issue is not solved until justice prevails.
won lawsuits against Privatbank on the repayment of funds belonging to “Crimean” depositors.
won lawsuits recovering the charges that equal at least the amount of actual deposits.
enforcement proceedings successfully completed as of 2021.
support of “voluntary” execution by PrivatBank of court decisions that entered into force, without applying to the State Executive Service.
Frequently Asked Questions about Crimean Deposits
Original agreement and deposit receipt are the documents confirming the fact of deposit agreement conclusion. However, if you are having only the copies of these documents, they will also be sufficient.
Yes, the lawsuit is possible. The most important thing is to know the number of your bank account and the deposit amount. As of today, we have developed effective techniques and procedures of legal investigation that allow to reinstate the required information on your deposits for court.
Yes, this is a common practice that allows the depositor to return the full deposit including all kinds of penalties that may exceed the actual deposit amount by several times.
Certainly, there is a chance. We will file an action against the bank based on other matters and will restore your violated rights.
Yes. Currently this is not a problem. All required documents can be filed remotely.
Yes. However, you need to obtain a notarized confirmation of your status as the heir of the deceased client of the bank.
Yes. The approach to reviewing the cases on blocked current accounts is similar to the cases on the recovery of blocked deposits, however the relief sought will contain less penalty claims.
Yes. In this case the court proceedings will be held even quicker than in cases regarding deposits of individuals. This is due to the fact that such cases are reviewed by commercial courts which currently deal with matters more speedily.
This depends on when you applied to PrivatBank with the claim to void the agreement and receive the funds. If you submitted such a claim a long time ago the interest will be much less, but the term for penalties application will be extended. In general, you can expect to receive: the deposit itself, 3% annual interest, inflation return (if the deposit was in UAH), and a fine stipulated by article 10, section 5 of the Law of Ukraine on Consumer Protection which may amount to the funds put on hold by the bank (deposit and interests).