The Court of Amsterdam took a swing at Microsoft in a ruling on the bankruptcy of the Amsterdam Trade Bank. According to the court, Microsoft hindered the the case by preventing trustees from accessing important information and thwarting a subpoena.

Dutch media report that Microsoft played a dubious role in the handling of the Amsterdam Trade Bank’s bankruptcy over the past few months. Microsoft provided cloud services to the bank, which was owned by sanctioned Russian oligarchs. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many customers refused to do business with the bank, causing the organization to bankrupt.

To handle the bankruptcy, trustees requested unhindered access to the company’s records, including administrative files hosted in Microsoft’s public cloud environment. The tech giant refused to provide unhindered access out of fear of sanctions by US authorities.

The trustees tried to subpoena Microsoft and threatened the tech giant with a fine, but got nothing in return. Microsoft refused to address the subpoena, claiming it was sent to the wrong company, without providing trustees with the right address. Sending the subpoena to the two Microsoft entities in the Netherlands proved unsuccessful.

Judge strongly disapproves

In the final bankruptcy verdict, the judge criticized Microsoft’s attitude towards the case. According to Dutch law, trustees must be able to perform their legal duties under the Bankruptcy Act. To do so, they require unhindered access to administration, regardless of the data’s location. The cloud isn’t exempt.

The court portrayed Microsoft as a large US party that knowingly prevents any risk of sanctions and “is only guided by its own interests”.

Moreover, Microsoft and its lawyers are said to have deliberately played hide-and-seek by refusing to disclose which Microsoft entity in the Netherlands had to be contacted and refusing to disclose the reasoning behind its defence.

When contacted for a statement, one of Microsoft’s lawyers referred to the tech giant itself. Microsoft did not comment on the case.

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