UK govt denies wrongdoing in $4 billion lawsuit with Bank Mellat

LONDON Fri May 9, 2014 11:33am EDT

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LONDON May 9 (Reuters) - The UK government has filed a defence against a $4 billion lawsuit brought by an Iranian bank against which it wrongfully imposed sanctions, denying that the bank suffered any losses or reputational damage due to the sanctions.

Bank Mellat, Iran's largest private bank, filed a damages claim in London's High Court in February, after the Supreme Court quashed UK sanctions imposed against it over alleged links to Tehran's nuclear programme.

The lender said the bank suffered "significant pecuniary loss" and substantial reputational damage as a result of the measures that were taken against it in 2009.

In a defence filed in court on Friday and obtained by Reuters, the UK Treasury rejected those allegations.

"It is denied that the 2009 order substantially damaged Bank Mellat's reputation and goodwill in both the UK and internationally and caused significant pecuniary loss."

Any such losses would have been suffered anyway, because at the time there was a general reluctance to conduct business with Iranian banks in light of earlier imposed U.S. financial sanctions, the defence document stated. (Reporting by Clare Hutchison; editing by Jason Neely)

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