The General Court of the European Union (the EU’s first instance court) has annulled the listing of Bassam Sabbagh, a Syrian lawyer included on the EU’s sanctions against Syria since November 2011, in Case T-652/11 Sabbagh v Council (26 February 2015).  He was included on the grounds that he is head of a law firm in Damascus and a lawyer at the Paris Bar, advises Rami and Khaldoun Makhlouf, and is associated with President Bashar al-Assad in funding a real estate project, providing financial support to the regime.

The General Court found that the Council had failed to discharge its burden of proof as regards the truth of those reasons, which Mr Sabbagh denied, and that simply running a law firm was insufficient to justify his inclusion; there was no evidence before the court to support the Council’s case. The Court rejected Mr Sabbagh’s claim for damages, on the grounds that there was no evidence to substantiate his claim for loss and damage.

This entry was posted in European Court Cases, Syria by Maya Lester QC. Bookmark the permalink.

About Maya Lester QC

Maya Lester QC has a wide ranging practice in public law, European law, competition law, international law, human rights & civil liberties. She has a particular expertise in sanctions. As the most recent (2016) Chambers & Partners directory put it, she "owns the world of sanctions". She spent 2011-12 in New York at Columbia Law School lecturing and writing on sanctions. She represents and advises hundreds of companies and individuals before the European and English courts and has acted in most of the leading cases, including Kadi, Tay Za, Central Bank of Iran, NITC and IRISL.

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