Russia's Ozon says BNY withdraws as convertible bonds trustee

May 18 (Reuters) - Ozon said on Wednesday that BNY Mellon, its trustee for bonds maturing in 2026, had informed the Russian e-commerce firm that it can no longer act as trustee without being exposed to financial or criminal risks due to sanctions against Moscow.

Nasdaq-listed Ozon, trading in whose shares was suspended on Feb. 28, warned of bond payment issues in early March and has since entered into discussions with an ad hoc group of holders of its $750 million, 1.875% unsecured convertible bonds.

“On May 9, 2022 BNY Mellon Corporate Trustee Services Limited has notified the Company that...from 10 May 2022 it would not be capable of acting as trustee under the Bonds without exposure to the risk of financial or criminal liability,” Ozon said in a statement.

“The company is currently evaluating possible implications of the trustee’s determination, including in connection with ongoing negotiations with an ad hoc group of bondholders.”

The trustee cited European Union regulations prohibiting the services of trust arrangements involving Russian nationals or Russian entities as the reason for stepping aside.

BNY Mellon had no immediate response when approached for comment by Reuters. (Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Alexander Smith)