Economy, Business And Markets

Bank Tejarat Pursues EU Sanctions Case

Bank Tejarat Pursues  EU Sanctions CaseBank Tejarat Pursues  EU Sanctions Case

Bank Tejarat, an Iranian commercial bank, will pursue legal action until its European assets are released, said a bank’s top official on Saturday.

The bank official’s statement came after the European Union’s second highest court on Thursday annulled EU sanctions on Tejarat and 40 shipping companies hit with asset freezes as part of pressure on Tehran over its nuclear energy program.

“We will certainly continue our efforts until the court ruling is executed and [Tejarat’s] assets held in European banks are unblocked,” Ali Hasnani, deputy CEO of Tejarat, said on Saturday. “We will use all our legal resources to receive an official confirmation of damages to [the bank’s] shareholders and depositors.”

The court ruling included the release of the Tehran based lender’s frozen assets within the EU and the resumption of its activities inside the EU. But Tejarat will remain under sanctions for now after the General Court gave the EU time to appeal or to decide whether to re-impose sanctions using different legal grounds.

The court’s ruling was handed down as six world major powers and Iran strive to meet an end-June deadline for a long-term agreement to limit parts of Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for lifting of economic sanctions.

The EU put Bank Tejarat under sanctions in 2012, arguing that it had helped the country’s nuclear energy program.

The General Court struck down the sanctions, saying the Council of EU governments had failed to prove that the bank had provided support for the nuclear program or had helped others to circumvent sanctions. It also said the bank was partially privatized in 2009 and the Iranian state was no longer its majority shareholder.

The decisions were the latest in a number of legal reverses the EU has suffered over the validity of its sanctions. It has responded to similar court decisions by relisting Iranian companies using different criteria.