EghtesadOnline: The Central Bank of Iran in a statement said it will resort to legal action to counter efforts to seize its assets at Deutsche Boerse’s Clearstream unit.
The statement was in response to reports that US plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit in a New York court seeking to require Deutsche Boerse’s Clearstream unit, a foreign exchange service provider, to surrender assets that belong to Iran’s central bank.
The complaint names the CBI and several financial institutions including Clearstream as defendants.
“The issue pertains to securities owned by the CBI held by a Clearstream unit at Luxembourg,”Amir Hossein Tayyebi Fard, the CBI deputy for legal affairs, confirmed.
“Legal action is underway to free the CBI assets worth $1.7 billion,” he was quoted as saying by the bank’s public relations office.
Tayyebi Fard pointed to similar lawsuits filed by US government plaintiffs in the past to seize CBI assets in Luxembourg, recalling that “such efforts failed in seizing Iran’s assets due to Iran’s legal measures.”
He ascribed the US’s pattern of failures in Luxembourg courts and similar cases in European courts to the fact that “CBI assets are independent from the government and the judicial immunity of CBI assets is a fundamental principle of international law”, which he said has been clearly mentioned in verdicts issued in favor of Iran and against the US plaintiffs.
Deutsche Boerse Says Rejects Claims
In a statement posted on its website, Clearstream said the US claims are unfounded and it would take measures to defeat them.
“Clearstream considers any claims for damages against it in this context to be unfounded and will take all necessary and appropriate measures to decisively defeat such claims. The release of assets, to the extent that they are still held by Clearstream, will have to be arranged in accordance with the court decisions and in compliance with Clearstream's obligations as central securities depository,” an excerpt of the Clearstream statement read.
US authorities have targeted Luxembourg-based Clearstream for years in an investigation over whether it violated US money laundering and Iran sanction laws. Deutsche Boerse has denied wrongdoing, Reuters reported.
In 2019, a Luxembourg court rejected a US ruling that would have helped families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks claim Iranian assets in Clearstream.
In 2012, a New York court found there was evidence to show that Iran provided “material support and resources to al Qaeda for acts of terrorism”.
Hijackers, mostly pilots from Saudi Arabia, carried out the heinous attacks in New York and Washington in which 3,000 people were killed and 6,000 were injured.
That court awarded the plaintiffs damages of over $7 billion. Iran denies any links to Al Qaeda or any involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks.