News 01 Feb. 2019

Curtis Defeats US$1.4 Billion Claim Brought Against Cyprus

On January 29, 2019 the ICC tribunal in the arbitration filed by Messrs. Ayoub-Farid Michel Saab and Fadi Michel Saab against the Republic of Cyprus, by majority, dismissed the entire case on its merits.

The US$1.4 billion dispute related to the failure of FBME Bank Ltd., and its Cypriot branch office, following its designation by the United States’ Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) as a financial institution of “primary money-laundering concern”.

Claimants, the ultimate beneficial owners of FBME, had alleged that Cyprus’ response to that designation by FinCEN, in, amongst other acts, placing FBME’s Cypriot branch into resolution was a violation of the Cyprus-Lebanon BIT. The total alleged damages amounted to US$1.4 billion.

The Curtis team of lawyers representing Cyprus was led by partners Mark O’Donoghue, Peter Wolrich and Justin Jacinto, with associates William Hampson (London), Sena Tsikata (London) and trainee solicitor Odysseas Stergianopoulos (London).

Curtis has represented Cyprus in four arbitrations since 2014. This is Curtis’ second arbitration victory on behalf of Cyprus, with the remaining two cases still pending.