Sanctions

What Does Customary International Law Say About Halkbank’s Immunity?

Tomorrow, the Second Circuit will hear argument in United States v. Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. to consider whether Halkbank, a Turkish state-owned bank (but not its central bank), is immune from criminal prosecution for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. Halkbank claimed immunity under both the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and federal common law. The U.S….

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U.S. Brief in Halkbank Abandons Customary International Law in Immunity Cases

In Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. v. United States (Halkbank), the Supreme Court held that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) does not apply to criminal proceedings. The Court remanded Halkbank’s separate claim of common law immunity to the Second Circuit for reconsideration. On November 20, 2023, after two extensions, the United States filed its brief on remand. The U.S….

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Court Rejects Challenge to OFAC Blocking Order

Sanctions are an increasingly important part of United States foreign policy, and cases challenging them are also of growing significance. Sanctioned entities face an uphill battle in court however, as illustrated by a recent decision from the Southern District of New York: Rusaviainvest, OOO v. Yellen. Rusaviainvest, OOO (the plaintiffs) challenged an order by the…

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Why the Indictment Against Halkbank Must Be Dismissed

In 2019, the United States indicted Turkiye Halk Bankasi (Halkbank), a Turkish state-owned bank, alleging a multiyear scheme to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran by using fraudulent transactions to transfer the proceeds of oil and gas sales to Iran. Last month, the Supreme Court rejected Halkbank’s claim of immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act…

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Dear Justice Gorsuch: There’s No Reason to Worry About the Remand in Halkbank

In Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. v. United States (Halkbank), the Supreme Court held that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) does not apply to criminal proceedings. The Court remanded the case to the Second Circuit to reconsider Halkbank’s claim of common law immunity. Justice Gorsuch, joined by Justice Alito, wrote a partial dissent. He would…

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Open Questions after Halkbank

The Supreme Court held this week in Türkiye Halk Bankasi, A.S. v. United States that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) does not apply to criminal prosecutions. That holding was a blow to Halkbank—a foreign state-owned enterprise under indictment—which had argued that the FSIA provided it with immunity. But the case is not over. The…

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New Scholarship on Sanctions and Central Bank Immunity

Ingrid has a new paper out on recent developments in central bank immunity, focusing on sanctions by the United States and other countries involving Russian, Afghan, and Venezuelan central bank assets and their relationship to immunity. Some of the issues addressed in the paper involve transnational litigation in U.S. courts, including the entitlement of sovereign…

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Central Bank Immunity, Afghanistan, and Judgments Against the Taliban

International law and U.S. foreign policy provide powerful reasons to require clearer direction from the political branches before ordering the turnover of Afghan central bank assets to U.S. judgment creditors. [This post also appears on Lawfare]. Afghan central bank assets in the United States were frozen by President Biden following the Taliban’s takeover of the…

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Expert Recap and Analysis of Halkbank Oral Argument at the Supreme Court

Editor’s Note: This article also appears in Just Security. On January 17, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Türkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. (Halkbank) v. United States. The case asks whether Halkbank, which is majority-owned by the Turkish Wealth Fund (TWF), enjoys immunity from criminal prosecution in U.S. courts. Last spring, I previewed the unresolved…

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Ingrid (Wuerth) Brunk

Vanderbilt Law School
ingrid.wuerth@vanderbilt.eduEmail

William Dodge

UC Davis School of Law
wsdodge@ucdavis.eduEmail

Maggie Gardner

Cornell Law School
mgardner@cornell.eduEmail

John F. Coyle

University of North Carolina School of Law
jfcoyle@email.unc.eduEmail

Zachary D. Clopton

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
zclopton@law.northwestern.eduEmail

Matt Slovin

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Noah Buyon

Duke University School of Law
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Will Moon

University of Maryland
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William K. McGoughran

Vanderbilt Law School
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Chimène Keitner

UC Davis School of Law
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Catherine Amirfar

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
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Justin R. Rassi

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
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Isabelle Glimcher

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
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Ben Köhler

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law
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Aaron D. Simowitz

Willamette University College of Law
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