Last month the General Court of the European Union quashed Sina Bank’s designation on the EU Iranian sanctions list. Now Bank Mellat’s listing has been quashed too, in Case T-496/10 Bank Mellat v Council. It is significant that two Iranian banks have now been delisted by the Court. The Court’s judgment is also important for the following reasons.
First, the Court rejected the argument made by the Council and Commission that the Bank was State-owned and therefore not entitled to rely on fundamental rights. Second, the Court analysed each reason for the Bank’s listing, and found that two of them were “excessively vague” because they give no details of the conduct alleged against the Bank, in breach of the duty to give reasons and the Bank’s rights of defence. Third, the Court has confirmed, for the first time, that if the Council is going to rely on listing proposals by Member States as its evidence for including people or companies on EU sanctions lists, it must disclose them to applicants in good time to enable them to respond, and the Council must undertake its own checking of the “relevance and validity” of the evidence against an applicant.