UK dodged sanctions to settle with Iranian Bank Mellat
04 Oct 2019

Britain used a third country to avoid US sanctions as it paid an Iranian bank a settlement in a £1.25 billion damages case, The Times has learnt.

Bank Mellat, in which the Iranian government owns a 17 per cent stake, sued the government over British sanctions imposed in 2009 that prevented it from doing business with the UK’s financial sector.

The Supreme Court ruled that the sanctions were illegal and a five-week hearing of the bank’s claim for damages covering its loss of business had been scheduled for June.

Bank Mellat had sought £3.2 billion but this fell to £1.25 billion with interest.

On the eve of the trial the government reached a private settlement. The Treasury said yesterday: “Bank Mellat’s claims have been concluded on terms confidential to the parties.” Iranian media reported that the bank had declared the payment to its government.

The payment was made through a third country and entity to evade US sanctions, which have in effect cut Iran off from the global financial system. Washington reimposed sanctions on Bank Mellat in October.

Britain, France and Germany have had limited success in helping Iran to trade despite the American move.

By Catherine Philp, The Times, 4 October 2019

Read more at The Times

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