The Court of Appeal in Paris sided on Wednesday with a Syrian depositor residing in France in a case involving the Lebanese Saradar Bank, forcing the bank to reimburse her some “three million” euros and other US dollar savings, the French magazine Challenges reported.
However, the bank does not intend to let the case end there.
After having already appealed against a first-instance decision issued in Nov. 2021, the bank is now “examining the possibility of an appeal in cassation,” a representative told L’Orient-Le Jour Thursday. This would be the only remaining option under French law for the bank to contest the judgment.
With her savings blocked in her accounts for three years due to informal and illegal restrictions by the Lebanese banking sector at the beginning of the country’s wide-reaching financial crisis, the Syrian depositor won her case through the French judicial system.
Her case could inspire other depositors of Lebanese banks living abroad.
The judgment sets a precedent that the French judicial system can rule in favor of a foreign national, as well as oblige Lebanese banks to reimburse them their full deposits despite Saradar Bank having no branches in France.
Saying it was “confident” in the outcome of this case last year, Saradar Bank regretted on Thursday “the solution adopted by the Court of Appeal of Paris, which wrongly considered that the French courts were competent ... The court also ignored the existence of a homologation procedure, currently pending before the Lebanese judge," the bank representative said.
Nevertheless, this is not the first time that foreign courts have ruled in favor of depositors from Lebanon who are on their territory. Earlier this year, the British High Court of Justice ruled in favor of Vatche Manoukian, a Lebanese-British depositor of Bank Audi and SGBL, who was legally assured of recovering nearly $4 million.
In August, the same court also forced the Bank of Beirut to return some $7.96 million, plus interest, to Syrian-British George Gabriel Bitar.
However, these cases have so far concerned depositors with considerable savings.
In Lebanon, on the other hand, the justice system is struggling with such cases, despite the work of associations protecting the rights of depositors, forcing the latter to take justice into their own hands by holding up banks in an attempt to recover all or part of their own savings.
The Court of Appeal in Paris sided on Wednesday with a Syrian depositor residing in France in a case involving the Lebanese Saradar Bank, forcing the bank to reimburse her some “three million” euros and other US dollar savings, the French magazine Challenges reported. However, the bank does not intend to let the case end there.After having already appealed against a first-instance decision...