International Banking

On December 13, 1996, the front page of the New York Law Journal reported our firm's success in litigating a complex multimillion dollar international dispute that weaved together a series of transactions across the globe. The case started with a dispute between oil companies in the Netherlands, Antilles and Nigeria, involving a company spun off by the Marithon Oil Corporation. One of the companies “froze” funds as they passed through the United States. T. Kevin Murtha & Associates represented a foreign owned bank with accounts in the U.S. that were restrained and frozen. After an expedited appeal process, the Appellate Division held in favor of the firm’s client. The Court also directed that the bond be posted by the firm’s adversary, to cover the legal fees incurred by our client.

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York

December 12, 1996
234 A.D.2d 103,650 NYS 2d 726

Background: An attempt to attach $1 million as it passed through a correspondent account maintained by a Nigerian bank at Chase Manhattan in New York on its way from London to Nigeria has been rejected by a state appellate court with a warning that “great care must be taken to avoid impeding” correspondent banking.

Decision: The Appellate Division, First Department, yesterday in Sigmoil Resources, N.V. v. Pan Ocean Oil Corp. (Nigeria) unanimously overturned a ruling of last May be a judicial hearing officer that permitted Sigmoil, which was trying to recover a $4 million debt from Vittorio Fabbri and corporations allegedly controlled by him, to attach $1 million in an account at Chase.