By three rulings dated September 7, 2022, the First Civil Chamber of the Cour de cassation definitively set aside attachments carried out by Al-Kharafi, a Kuwaiti company, on frozen assets belonging to our client, the sovereign wealth fund Libyan Investment Authority (LIA).
These attachments had been performed by Al-Kharafi in 2013 and 2016, in execution of an arbitration award of more than one billion euros against the Libyan state, on the ground that LIA would be an emanation of this state.
Gide’s team challenged these attachments and, in 2019, Versailles and Paris courts issued contradictory decisions on the validity of the disputed attachments.
The Cour de cassation ended these proceedings by ordering the full and final release of the funds seized by Al-Kharafi for a total amount of more than 300 million dollars.
These are the first decisions to rule on the validity of attachments of assets frozen pursuant to international sanctions measures: such attachments are null and void if the creditor has carried them out without obtaining from the French Treasury prior administrative authorization to unfreeze the assets.
In doing so, the Cour de cassation draws the consequences of a European Court of Justice ruling dated November 11, 2021 (aff. C/2021/903, Bank Sepah) and aims at ensuring the broad and full effectiveness of European and international asset freezing regulations.
Gide’s team representing LIA was headed by Jean-Sébastien Bazille, counsel, working with associates Yohan Bendao, Amaury Lavenant and Sarah Rahim, alongside Emmanuelle Trichet and Guillaume Tapie, Avocats à la Cour de cassation.
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