MOSCOW, October 20 (RAPSI) — Lawyers are studying the situation with the Rusaviainvest case in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which for more than a year has showed no sign of progress due to the problem of accessing classified information because of the pandemic.
The classified information, according to the U.S. authorities, serves as the basis for the decision taken by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to block the funds of Rusaviainvest, Eric Creizman of Armstrong Teasdale LLP told RAPSI.
Mr. Creizman said that he’s unable to read the classified information. Access was allowed only to the judge, who can get the data on a secure computer in his chambers.
As a result, the case is in limbo for the time being, but lawyers are studying the situation to get the case back on track, Mr. Creizman told RAPSI.
Rusaviainvest moved for summary judgment as to the issue of the legality of OFAC's actions. Back in May 2020, the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York denied the motion on the grounds that as a result of the COVID19 epidemic, it was not possible to access the classified information.
Three wire transfers worth $1.4 million were frozen over the allegations that a person sanctioned for involvement in terrorism had an interest in the funds.
Meanwhile, Rusaviainvest itself is not on a blacklist.
The company filed a lawsuit in the summer of 2018, claiming that the money was transferred to pay to the Uzbekistan Airways under two contracts to purchase used airplanes. Despite numerous enquiries, no clarification was received about the rationale behind the blocking of the funds.
Rusaviainvest also claimed that the decision to block the funds was "arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion," whereas numerous requests and certified documents confirming the absence of any connection between the company's management and employees with terrorist organizations were ignored. Moreover, the counterparty in Uzbekistan was a government agency operating regular flights to the United States, according to the complaint.
OFAC is delaying the consideration of the application for reconsideration of the refusal to unblock funds, while the company is suffering losses and is under "strong financial pressure" in connection with the efforts of its counterparty to compensate for the damage caused, Rusaviainvest said.