The grand jury subpoena issued in New York seeks documents related
to any property held or any services rendered by Clearstream for the
benefit of Iran or its central bank, Bank Markazi. The grand jury is
looking at possible violations of money laundering and Iran
sanctions laws, according to the subpoena.
A spokesman for Luxembourg-based Clearstream said the bank was aware
of the subpoena but had no further information on the investigation.
The filing on Monday came as part of a lawsuit brought by family
members of the victims of the Beirut bombing, who won a $2.7 billion
judgment against Iran in 2007. The families have accused Iran of
providing material support to Hezbollah, which carried out the
attack, killing 241 U.S. servicemen.
The lawsuit was filed in 2010 after the U.S. Treasury Department
uncovered $1.8 billion in Iranian funds held at Citibank in New
York, part of Citigroup Inc.
The complaint named Iran and a number of banks, including Citi, Bank
Markazi, Clearstream and Rome-based Banca UBAE, as defendants and
sought to have the funds turned over to help satisfy the judgment.
The other banks were alleged to have helped Iran hide its control of
the accounts and transfer money out of the bank after it was ordered
The subpoena was served on a lawyer for the plaintiffs and seeks
documents they have gathered as part of their lawsuit.
The lawyer, Liviu Vogel, told U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest
in a letter on Monday that he had received the subpoena and intended
to comply absent a court order.
Citi did not oppose the plaintiffs' request to have the funds handed
over, but Clearstream, Banca UBAE and Bank Markazi all moved to
dismiss the lawsuit.
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In February 2013, Forrest ruled in the victims' favor and ordered
the funds turned over.
The transfer is on hold, however, while Bank Markazi pursues an
appeal at the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Clearstream and
Banca UBAE initially appealed before settling with the plaintiffs
In January, in a separate case, Clearstream agreed to pay $152
million to settle U.S. government claims that the banking unit held
some $2.8 billion in securities in the United States for Bank
The bank said in January that the settlement ended the probe without
a formal finding that Clearstream had violated U.S. sanctions laws
prohibiting Iran's central bank from any financial dealings with the
The case is Peterson v Islamic Republic of Iran, U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of New York, No. 10-4518.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; editing by Noeleen Walder and Mohammad
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