Recent legal developments in the liquidation of Sberbank Hungary

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The Hungarian government has issued a decree amending certain provisions of the bank’s liquidation procedure. The decree entered into force on April 15, 2022 and concerns the solvent liquidation of Sberbank Hungary, a subsidiary of Sberbank Europe AG, the Hungarian member of the Russian Sberbank Group.

Although it affects the liquidation of Sberbank Hungary, the decree covers all credit institutions incorporated in Hungary and affects both their solvent and insolvent liquidations. The decree is issued under the aegis of Act I of 2021 on protective measures in relation to the Covid pandemic, which allows the Hungarian government to modify certain acts of parliament by means of an interim government decree. The decree will therefore only remain in force as long as the law is in force. Nevertheless, it will remain applicable in the future for ongoing proceedings.

The measures affecting the ranking of claims in a solvent liquidation are as follows:

  • The administrator must release from the bankruptcy estate the sums in the deposit accounts of notaries, bailiffs and law firms and the deposits guaranteeing the obligations of third parties. The purpose of this provision should be welcome, as transactions that are affected by a bank liquidation (in this case, the liquidation of Sberbank Hungary) can go ahead and will only remain blocked once the liquidation is complete.
  • After the release above, the administrator must settle the claims of private customers and SMEs insofar as these claims have not been settled by the National Deposit Insurance Fund (Országos Betétbiztosítási Alap – OBA).
  • The remaining claims must be settled according to the legal rank.

With regard to the ranking of claims in a judicial liquidation, the release of current accounts and security deposits applies mutatis mutandis. However, the deposit claims of private and SME customers will not become super-senior.

It is also required in an insolvent liquidation, provided that a solvent liquidation has become insolvent, that creditors must submit their claims within 30 days of the commencement of insolvent liquidation proceedings (the general rule is 60 days). Whether or not the judicial liquidation was preceded by a judicial liquidation, the security deposits guaranteeing the claims of third parties must be executed within 60 days of the opening of the procedure (the general rule is three months ).

Both in the event of solvent liquidation and insolvency, it is also provided that the administrator must attempt to sell the portfolio of the liquidated bank as a going concern and seek the corresponding approval from the Hungarian National Bank within 120 days of the start of the procedure, although this period may be extended.

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