A Russian court has ruled against freezing Volkswagen's assets in Russia, stating there were no grounds to suggest the company would try to avoid financial obligations arising from two lawsuits brought by Russian carmaker GAZ.
GAZ, which was contracted to produce VW and Skoda vehicles at its factory in Nizhny Novgorod before VW suspended operations in Russia last year, in March convinced the court to freeze VW's assets while court proceedings play out.
But the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Arbitration Court had already on April 3 reversed that interim measure and ruled conclusively against such a step this week.
"At present there are no grounds to suggest that the defendants would avoid implementation of the court's decision (if passed in favor of the plaintiff) and that their property status would prevent them from fulfilling this decision," the court said on Thursday.
That comment was in reference to a lawsuit in which GAZ is seeking 15.6 billion rubles ($193.1 million) in damages after VW terminated its production agreement in August, saying VW's attempts to exit the Russian market had put GAZ's interests at risk.
GAZ subsequently filed a separate lawsuit, seeking 28.4 billion rubles ($351.5 million) in losses associated with Volkswagen terminating its engine deliveries.
VW referred to a statement from its Russian subsidiary, Volkswagen Group Rus, which said it considered new claims to be "unreasonable" and expressed surprise, saying the partnership with GAZ had ended on "mutually beneficial terms."
"We believe in the objectivity of the judicial system, which will take into account all the facts of the case and make a decision in our favor," the statement said.
In both cases GAZ had sought interim measures that would freeze VW's assets.
The court conclusively refused GAZ's freezing requests on the two claims on April 11 and April 12 respectively.
VW halted operations in Russia in March 2022, shortly after Moscow ordered tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine.
The cooperation between Volkswagen Group Rus and GAZ Group started in 2011.
VW is preparing to sell its Russian assets, including its flagship plant in the city of Kaluga with annual production capacity of 225,000 vehicles, but no decision has yet been made and Russian government approval is pending.