Iran Central Bank Files $4.9 Billion Complaint Against Deutsche Boerse Subsidiary -- Update

By Max BernhardFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Deutsche Boerse AG (DB1.XE) said Thursday that Iran's Bank Markazi has filed a complaint against the German stock-exchange operator's subsidiary Clearstream, seeking restitution of assets worth about $4.9 billion.

The Iranian central bank filed the complaint against post-trade services provider Clearstream and Italian bank Banca UBAE SpA at a court in Luxembourg, where the subsidiary is based, Deutsche Boerse said.

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The complaint seeks restitution for the Iranian bank's assets, which are allegedly held in UBAE and Bank Markazi accounts with Clearstream and total around $4.9 billion plus interest. Bank Markazi also seeks damages worth the same amount, Deutsche Boerse said.

The assets sought include about $1.9 billion which was turned over to plaintiffs in the U.S. after a binding 2013 U.S. court order involving the Iranian bank, Deutsche Boerse said.

That order followed a decision from 2003, when a U.S. federal court said Iran was liable for supporting terrorists behind the bombing of a U.S. Marine Corps facility in Lebanon in 1983, in which 214 marines and personnel died. The court ordered Iran to pay damages to survivors and victims' families, and subsequently the plaintiffs pursued U.S.-held Iranian assets, some of which were held by Clearstream.

The Iranian bank's complaint also addresses around $2 billion in customer assets now held at Clearstream and subject to litigation in the U.S. and Luxembourg.

Clearstream believes the complaint against it is without merit and the subsidiary will take "all necessary and appropriate measures to vigorously contest the claims," Deutsche Boerse said.

Clearstream is separately being probed by New York federal prosecutors in a investigation seeking to determine whether the Deutsche Boerse subsidiary helped Iran evade sanctions. The case has been ongoing for years but the Justice Department has been aiming to speed up the probe since February last year, according to people familiar with the matter.

Write to Max Bernhard at Max.Bernhard@dowjones.com; @mxbernhard

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 18, 2018 08:33 ET (13:33 GMT)