US court orders German stock operator Deutsche Börse subsidiary Bank Markazi to turn over Iranian assets

Frankfurt (dpa) – A US court has ordered German stock operator Deutsche Börse’s Clearstream subsidiary to turn over about $1.7 billion in assets held by Iran’s central bank, Bank Markazi.

The court decision comes as part of a long-running US legal case in which victims of a terrorist attack 40 years ago have sought compensation from Iran.

Clearstream said it is considering an appeal of the decision.

The assets are held in a customer account in Luxembourg by Clearstream, a wholly owned subsidiary of the German stock exchange operator.

The company announced on Wednesday evening in Frankfurt that those suing Iran were granted a right to the assets attributed to the Iranian central bank held in a customer account at Clearstream.

Iranian-held assets at Clearstream, which manages securities on behalf of customers and handles purchases and sales, have been frozen on suspicion of terrorist financing and locked in several legal disputes for a number of years.

The Iranian central bank also filed a lawsuit in Luxembourg in 2018 against Clearstream and others demanding the return of extensive assets, including the $1.7 billion at stake in the US court decision.

According to Deutsche Börse, that case remains pending but Clearstream maintains it is without merit.

Deutsche Börse said the US court’s decision has not significantly changed any risks the company faces over the litigation.

  • Statement from Deutsche Börse
  • Information about the legal case involving Clearstream and the Iranian central bank, in German: PDF
  • Locations – Deutsche Börse: Frankfurt am Main, Germany