Economy, Business And Markets

RBS Resolves Iranian Accounts Case

RBS Resolves Iranian Accounts CaseRBS Resolves Iranian Accounts Case

The Royal Bank of Scotland is reported to have reached a settlement with its Iranian customers who charged the giant high street bank of discriminating against them based on their race.

The legal case could have dragged on for a much longer time but it is now being settled outside the court of law.

The case, which was brought on by Blackstone - a small south Manchester law firm - saw its first court session begin last week on Monday.

Blackstone solicitors claimed RBS had discriminated against people of Iranian heritage, whose bank accounts were shut down indiscriminately by the bank, but RBS contends any measures taken by the bank were in line with the sanctions imposed on Iran for its nuclear power program by western governments.

However, on Friday, IRNA reported that an outside the court settlement had been reached between RBS and the Iranians who say they had been the victims of the bank's discriminatory behavior.

Emma Nawaz, the lawyer representing the case, confirmed to IRNA that a settlement had been reached but refused to offer any details. "It was shocking for RBS to close the accounts of its Iranian customers – something which goes beyond any sanctions", she was quoted as saying.

Nawaz repeated the charges against the bank, saying that the bank's decision to deny services to people of Iranian heritage was an act of "racial profiling" by RBS, adding that class actions of this sort are on the rise.

"I am worried about this kind of treatment and wonder who the next victim will be", she said. "If the banks decline to provide services to Iranians who live in the UK, this will greatly disrupt their lives". A nine-year-old girl was reported to be among those affected by the bank’s decision.

Meanwhile, RBS is adamant in saying that its decisions had been lawful and that no accounts had been closed "based on an individual's race" and that all UK citizens can use the services of the bank without limits.  

In recent months, the limits imposed on financial transactions to Iranian businesses including denial of access to SWIFT - a system that facilitates international bank transfer - has prompted several Iranian firms and banks to take legal action.

Iran and the P5+1 countries (UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany) are working to reach a final deal on Iran's nuclear program by a Jun 30 deadline which will terminate all sanctions against Iran in exchange for Tehran limiting parts of its nuclear program.