Sovereign and Banking Litigation

Davis Polk regularly represents banks and international institutions with respect to the enforcement of judgments and arbitral awards under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), and other terrorism and economic sanctions programs.

Our lawyers regularly assist financial institutions in responding to subpoenas in aid of the enforcement of judgments against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Sudan, Syria, the Republic of Cuba, and elsewhere.

Notable Matters

  • We achieved an important victory for Citibank in federal court in New York regarding ex parte writs of execution and orders of attachment requiring the bank to freeze hundreds of millions of dollars of securities held by the Argentine social security administration in custody accounts maintained with Citibank Argentina.
  • We secured an important victory for our client, an Argentinean joint venture, in an international ICC arbitration brought by a major multinational energy company regarding a long-term natural resource supply contract between that company and our client.
  • We achieved a significant victory for Citibank in connection with attempts by various plaintiffs (primarily vulture funds) to collect on judgments against the Republic of Argentina resulting from a 2001 bond default by the country.
  • We represented Clearstream Banking S.A. in litigation relating to plaintiffs’ efforts to recover on a default judgment against the Government of Iran, successfully settling the matter.
  • We are representing numerous financial institutions in an enforcement proceeding under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) against Iran that is currently pending in the Supreme Court of the State of New York.
  • We represented Intesa Sanpaolo, the largest bank in Italy, in connection with an industry-wide, multiyear criminal and civil investigation into alleged violations of U.S. sanctions and other laws arising from the processing of USD transactions relating to Iran, Cuba, Libya, and Sudan.
  • We represent numerous financial institutions in proceedings pending in federal courts across the United States seeking to enforce multimillion-dollar judgments against Iran and Cuba for acts of terrorism.
  • We represented an international financial institution in connection with a writ of execution served on its New York branch relating to blocked Syrian funds.
  • We represented an international banking organization in connection with DOJ, IRS, and foreign-regulator inquiries into the use of offshore vehicles to evade U.S. taxes.
  • We represented Bank Leumi, Israel’s largest bank, in connection with a complex multi-jurisdictional dispute involving attached funds in Israel.