Bank of New York Mellon Corp. said a Russian newspaper report that an $800 million settlement had been reached on a $22 billion lawsuit the Russian government has filed against the company is "pure speculation."
The Russian Federal Customs Service sued Bank of New York Mellon in May 2007 over an alleged laundering scheme. It claimed that during the 1990s several executives at Bank of New York, a predecessor company, moved $7.5 billion from Russia to accounts at the company via wire transfers.
Previously, Bank of New York agreed to pay $38 million in fines as part of a nonprosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. The Russian Federal Customs then made claims in Russia against the company under the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
Bank of New York Mellon spokesman Ron Gruendl commented late Friday on Kommersant's report last month that a settlement had been worked out. "The Bank of New York earned $1.4 million in revenue from the funds transfer activity directed by a rogue employee for the benefit of Russian banks and their Russian customers," Gruendl said. "If there is tax liability for this 10-year-old matter, it is properly theirs. The company paid a $14 million penalty to the U.S. government for failing to monitor and supervise its rogue employee."
He continued: "The settlement speculation ... has no basis and appears to pick a number out of the air that does not reflect the baseless nature of the Florida lawyers' claims in this matter. The Bank of New York Mellon has always been open to reasonable discussions regarding a potential settlement with the Russian Federal Customs Service. We have had — and continue today remain in — discussions with the Federal Customs Service. This lawsuit is not in Russia's interest or our interest — as the judge has said before — and it should be resolved."