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Alex Haines talks on US Sanctions and EU Blocking Statute

Business Crime and Regulation specialist, Alex Haines, gives a webinar to 150 members of the finance and business industries on US sanctions and the EU Blocking Statute.

On 19 March 2020, Alex Haines, member of Outer Temple Chambers’ Business Crime and Regulation Team, gave a webinar to a 150 participants from an array of different industry (including HSBC, Allianz, Nasdaq and Michelin) on US sanctions and the EU Blocking Statute.

The Blocking Statute

The webinar, titled The Blocking Statute: Deciphering its Provisions, How to Handle the US/EU Conflict, and Actions to Date’ , was organised by the Association of Certified Sanctions Specialists (“ACSS”). It covered:

  • The history and aims of the Blocking Statute
  • The four mechanisms of the Blocking Statute
  • Temporal application if the Blocking Statute
  • Its practical impact
  • Recent caselaw


There has, traditionally, been a dearth of caselaw on the Blocking Statute (whether from its original role in relation to Cuba or since the US withdrew from the JCPOA/US-Iran nuclear deal).  There have, however, been some recent cases which were discussed in the webinar including:

  • Bank M.I v T. Deutschland GmBH  [2018] 319 O 265/18 (28 November 2018) in which the Regional Court in Hamburg granted an interim injunction on the basis of the EU Blocking Statute requiring a telecoms company to provide telephone and internet access to the claimant (‘Bank M.I.) that had been targeted by US Iran.
  • H GmbH v H. Sparkkasse [2018] 318 O 330/18 (15 October 2018) in which the same Court rejected a request a request from the claimant for an injunction under the Blocking Statute to order the defendant – a savings bank – to maintain the claimant’s savings account. According to the bank’s terms and agreements, ordinary termination of an account requires a valid reason.  The Court held that the valid reason “lies in the secondary sanctions of the competent US authority”, the defendant had shown that its correspondent banks, which are necessary for its function, may refuse to cooperate with it to avoid secondary sanctions.
  • The recent Metro Bank case which has been reported in The Guardian on 17 March 2020.


The ACSS is a professional membership body for sanctions professionals worldwide.  It was formed to advance sanctions compliance by supporting the professional development of the individuals who lead those efforts.

On 18 June 2020, Outer Temple Chambers is hosting the launch of the ACSS London Chapter. Click here to register.

About Alex Haines

Alex, dual national and fluent in French and Spanish, is a specialist in international law, with particular expertise in the extensive field of international organisations law. He is admitted to both the English and New York Bars, and was appointed to the Attorney General’s London B Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown in 2019.

Alex’s practice areas include:

  • Business crime and corruption including global investigations
  • Sanctions
  • Regulatory and disciplinary proceedings
  • Institutional law of international organisations including their immunities and international administrative law
  • International arbitration
  • Financial services inquiries

More Information

To find out more about Alex Haines or his work with ACSS please contact David Smith on (+44 (0)20 7427 4905) or Colin Bunyan on +44 (0)20 7427 4886.


News 24 Mar, 2020


Alex Haines

Call: 2007 (England & Wales); 2019 (New York); 2020 (Ireland); and 2024 (District of Columbia)

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