On 19 January 2015 the grounds for annulment in VTB Bank, Sberbank of Russia and Agrotikos Sinetairismos Profiti Ilia were published in the Official Journal.

Both VTB Bank and Sberbank are seeking annulment of Council Decision 2014/512/CFSP, Council Regulation 833/2014, Council Decision 2014/659/CFSP and Council Regulation 960/2014, in so far as these measures apply to them. VTB Bank also requests that the Court declare illegal or inapplicable Article 1 of Council Decision 2014/512/CFSP, Article 5 of Regulation 833/2014, Article 1 of Council Decision 2014/659/CFSP and Article 1(5) of Regulation 960/2014. Sberbank also requests a declaration of illegality as detailed in its application and an order that the Council should pay its costs.

The grounds relied on by VTB Bank are that the Council has failed to give adequate or sufficient reasons for listing the applicant, that the Council has manifestly erred in considering that the criteria for listing had been fulfilled, that the Council has failed to safeguard the applicant’s rights of defence and effective judicial review, and that the Council has infringed, without justification or proportion, the applicant’s fundamental rights (including its right to protection of its property, business and reputation). As regards the declaration of illegality, the applicant argues that the contested provisions are unlawful because they are not necessary or proportionate to the objectives of the contested sanctions measures, and that the contested sanctions measures breach the EU's international law obligations.

The grounds relied on by Sberbank are that the Council has manifestly erred in considering that the criteria for listing had been fulfilled, that the Council has breached its obligation to give reasons for listing the applicant, that the Council has failed to safeguard the applicant’s rights of defence and right to effective judicial review, and that the inclusion of the applicant in the contested measures amounts to an unjustified and disproportionate restriction of its fundamental rights (including its right to protection of its business and reputation).

Agrotikos Sinetairismos Profiti Ilia is seeking annulment of Council Regulation 833/2014 and an order that the Council should pay its costs. The ground relied on is an error in the choice of legal basis: that the Regulation was erroneously adopted on the basis of Article 215 TFEU, when it should have been adopted on the basis of Article 207 TFEU with regard to the common commercial policy.

Case T-731/14 Agrotikos Sinetairismos Profiti Ilia v Council (action brought on 17 October 2014)

Case T-732/14 Sberbank of Russia v Council (action brought on 23 October 2014)

Case T-734/14 VTB Bank v Council (action brought on 24 October 2014)