US court rules DOJ can access non-US bank records in sanctions investigation

The US District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled on appeal that the DOJ had the authority to demand 3 Chinese banks disclose transaction records from non-US accounts in an investigation into violations of N Korea sanctions. The court held that the DOJ should have access to these records regardless of the location where the transactions occurred because they are “related to” the banks’ US correspondent accounts. Accordingly, the court found that if funds are deposited into a non-US bank account, this “may be a preparatory step for using the correspondent account” to facilitate a payment in USD. This ruling shows the US DOJ’s powers to subpoena foreign banks in sanctions investigations.

The ruling upholds a March decision which held the banks in contempt of court for non-compliance with the investigation for failing to disclose these records (see post).

ChinaChina North KoreaNorth Korea United StatesUnited States

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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