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The Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) confirmed on Tuesday
The Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) confirmed on Tuesday it had received a proposal for an out of court settlement from the Russian Federal Customs Service.

Russian newspaper Kommersant citing a Russian government source said on Tuesday that the Russian customs authorities are ready to drop their $22.5 billion lawsuit against the Bank of New York Mellon over money laundering claims in exchange for an $800 million compensation settlement.

"We are encouraged to have received a letter directly from the Federal Customs Service suggesting that we meet to discuss a potential settlement of the case," BNY Mellon said in a press release. "We have always been open to reasonable discussions and look forward to speaking directly with the Federal Customs Service about resolving this matter.

Russia's custom services filed the lawsuit in May 2007 after accusing the bank of channeling funds received for exports to Russia in the late 1990s through accounts held at the bank.

"However, any settlement must reflect the meritless nature of the claims brought by the Miami trial lawyers," the statement said.

Russia's Federal Customs Service was not immediately available for a comment.

In the early 2000's several countries accused employees at the Bank of New York of involvement in organizing tax evasion and money laundering schemes, primarily with the use of the shadow economy. The bank fired several staff responsible for the Russian money transfers.

According to Steven Marx, a U.S. lawyer acting for the Russian customs service, under U.S. law the plaintiff can demand compensation of up to three times the laundered sum. He said the bank's management has acknowledged its involvement in the laundering of around $7.5 billion.

The main case in Russia related to the bank's management of U.S. correspondent accounts at Incombank, formerly Russia's second-largest bank, which was declared bankrupt in the late 1990s.

Moscow's arbitration court is to resume hearings on the case on March 10.

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