2 more Iranian bank listings annulled – Sorinet and Zanjani

ON 3 July 2014 the General Court of the EU (7th chamber) handed down 2 other judgments annulling listings on EU restrictive measures concerning Iran; Case T-157/13 Sorinet Commercial Trust Bankers Ltd v Council and Case 155/13 Babak Zanjani v Council.

The banks were listed in 2012 for the following reasons:

‘Sorinet Commercial Trust (SCT) is assisting designated entities to violate the provisions of the EU regulation on Iran and is providing financial support to the government of Iran. SCT is part of the Sorinet Group owned and operated by Babak Zanjani. It is being used to channel Iranian oil-related payments.’

‘Babak Zanjani is assisting designated entities to violate the provisions of the EU regulation on Iran and is providing financial support to the government of Iran. Zanjani is a key facilitator for Iranian oil deals and transferring oil-related money. Zanjani owns and operates the UAE?based Sorinet Group, and some of its companies are used by Zanjani to channel oil-related payments.’

The 2 judgments are very similar and (like some other recent Iranian judgments) annul the listings for a lack of evidence to support the published reasons. The following points are notable:

  1. Like the Sharif University judgment on which we blogged yesterday, they clarify the time limits for annulment actions.  The General Court has now made clear that only where the addresses of the persons or entities subject to restrictive measures are not known, or where it is impossible to undertake direct communication of the measures (i.e. a letter), time starts to run from 14 days from publication of a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union (pursuant to Article 102(1) of the Rules of Procedure)).  The Court has also now clarified that this time limit also applies to amendments to the order sought to challenge subsequent measures enacted in the course of proceedings.
  2. As with Sharif University case, the Council had no supporting evidence it could rely on because the Member State concerned would not authorise its release, and the Council would not explain why other information was confidential, and therefore the Council had not discharged its burden of proving allegations that were denied by the banks.
  3. As with the NITC case decided on the same day, the Court stayed the effects of the judgment until the appeal period expires.

IranIran European UnionEuropean Union

About Maya Lester QC

Maya Lester QC

Maya Lester QC is a senior barrister (Queen’s Counsel) at Brick Court Chambers with a wide-ranging practice in public law, European law, competition law, international law, human rights & civil liberties. She has a particular expertise in sanctions. The legal directories say she is the...

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