Swiss Court of Appeal closes BvS case
In 2007, UniCredit Bank Austria AG ("Bank Austria") joined a lawsuit as a process-guiding intervening party in support of its former subsidiary the defendant AKB Privatbank Zürich AG (formerly Bank Austria (Schweiz) AG). The lawsuit was brought in Switzerland by Bundesanstalt für vereinigungsbedingte Sonderaufgaben ("BvS", formerly Treuhandanstalt), the German public body for the new Länder reconstruction.
After almost 20 years of proceedings and contradictory decisions of former instances, on March 20, 2012, the Court of Appeal of Zurich granted the plaintiff's claim and ordered Bank Austria's former subsidiary – which Bank Austria is obliged to indemnify – to pay EUR 128 million plus interest dating back to 1994, plus costs. On May 7, 2012, Bank Austria filed an appeal against that judgment before the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.
The Swiss Federal Supreme Court has now rejected Bank Austria's appeal and confirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal of Zurich dated March 20, 2012, which is now final and binding. Thus, Bank Austria's former subsidiary and Bank Austria, respectively, are now obliged to pay approximately EUR 254 million (including accrued interest and costs). As Bank Austria has already built up appropriate risk provisions for this scenario, the residual
Bank Austria and its former subsidiary hold that BvS has breached various duties under German law and has further already recovered a substantial proportion of the sums for which it initially brought proceedings in Switzerland. For this reason, legal actions have been initiated against BvS in Germany. These proceedings, which had been stayed with regard to the pending Swiss proceedings, shall now be continued.
Enquiries: Bank Austria Media Relations
Martin Halama, Phone +43 (0) 50505 - 52371
Tiemon Kiesenhofer, Phone +43 (0) 50505 - 56036