Sudan Asset Attachment Heads to High Court

WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. Supreme Court took up a case Monday where two New York banks were ordered to satisfy a $314 million judgment against Sudan.

A federal judge in Washington imposed the default judgment against Sudan in 2012, finding the country liable for the 2000 al-Qaida bombing of the USS Cole.

In addition to 17 U.S. Navy sailors killed, the attack in the port of Aden, Yemen, injured 42. Fifteen from this group and their spouses brought a series of petitions in New York the following year to attach various Sudanese assets, including the country’s bank accounts at the National Bank of Egypt and Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank.

Sudan meanwhile did not enter an appearance in the case until after a federal judge ordered turnover of the funds.

On appeal, Sudan challenged the how the Sudanese Embassy in Washington was served with the action. Its petition to the Supreme Court focused on the same issue, saying that mailing service to the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., contravened the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Optional Protocol Disputes.

Rather than the embassy, Sudan said, the bombing victims should have had the service package mailed to the ministry of foreign affairs in Sudan.

Per its custom the U.S. Supreme Court did not issue any comment in taking up the case.

The Republic of Sudan is represented by Christopher Curran of White & Case.

Rick Harrison and the other named plaintiffs are represented by Hall Lamb attorney Andrew Hall and Williams & Connolly attorney Kannon Shanmugam.

Among other parties, the case has drawn amicus briefs from the U.S. solicitor general; Patton Boggs, which represents the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; and Paul Hastings, which represents the United Arab Emirates.

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