EU ruling boosts Bank Mellat against UK

Speculations are rising that a ruling by a top European Union court that Iran’s Bank Mellat has been mistakenly sanctioned has paved the way for the bank to seek hefty damages not only from the British government but also from the EU.

“Bank Mellat has already successfully challenged the sanctions placed upon it by the UK Treasury, and is awaiting a decision on a $4 billion (£2.8 billion) damages claim before the English court,” Sarosh Zaiwalla, a lawyer who represents Bank Mellat in London has been quoted as saying by the Guardian.

The Court of Justice of the European Union on Thursday ruled that the assets of the bank had been unfairly frozen from 2010, citing an “error of law”.

The court said that it rejected the reasoning linking the bank to Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.

The EU court’s ruling in favor of Bank Mellat was the first ruling in favor of an Iranian entity since international sanctions were lifted last month as part of a nuclear deal with the P5+1. The Guardian said that the case may encourage other Iranian firms to lodge similar compensation claims.

Zaiwalla emphasized that a hearing into Bank Mellat’s case against the British government has been scheduled in November.

He added that the ruling would also “pave the way” for the bank to “pursue a substantial damages claim against the European Council, which could see the bank awarded billions in compensation for its loss of earnings”.

Bank Mellat has been fighting a legal battle for several years against sanctions that it says were wrongfully placed on it by the European Union and the UK Treasury.

The claim by Bank Mellat against the British government, which is more than double the size expected, is being demanded as compensation for losses it says it incurred as a result of sanctions “negligently” imposed in 2009.

The UK Treasury alleged at the time that the bank financed firms involved in Iran’s nuclear program, but the bank has been denying any involvement and has been fighting to have the sanctions lifted.

By Press TV