In an opinion unsealed today, Judge Forrest granted partial summary judgment allowing a group of plaintiffs with billions in judgments against Iran to collect on $1.75 billion of cash being held by Citibank in New York on behalf of Clearstream, a European firm in the business of clearing and settling securities transactions. Judge Forrest concluded that a law that went into effect in August 2012, the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, was intended to hold Iran accountable for judgments against it and largely “swept aside” the numerous grounds that the defendants raised to oppose the motion:
[D]efendants have filled the proverbial kitchen sink with arguments. As the Court has reviewed the thousands of pages of briefing on and in support of these motions, building in a crescendo to the instant motion, it cannot help but be reminded of the grand finale in a Fourth of July fireworks show — all arguments thrown in and set off at once. While this Court has carefully reviewed all of defendants’ various arguments, it will not address each of them here. It need not do so because the basic question and the dispositive legal principles do not require descent into those waters — or into that sink, to mix metaphors.
The basic question at issue was whether Iran is the beneficial owner of the cash, and Judge Forrest concluded there was no genuine dispute to suggest Iran was not the beneficial owner. In the time between when the opinion was issued and when it was first unsealed, Clearstream has already moved for reconsideration, on the ground that, under the UCC, only it, and not Iran, is the owner of the cash.