| NEW YORK, April 1
NEW YORK, April 1 A U.S. grand jury is probing
whether Deutsche Boerse AG's Clearstream Banking SA
unit took any steps to benefit Iran and its central bank,
according to a court filing in a case that stems from the 1983
bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut.
The grand jury subpoena issued in New York seeks documents
related to any property held or any services rendered by
Clearstream for the benefit of Iran or its central bank, Bank
Markazi. The grand jury is looking at possible violations of
money laundering and Iran sanctions laws, according to the
A spokesman for Luxembourg-based Clearstream said the bank
was aware of the subpoena but had no further information on the
The filing on Monday came as part of a lawsuit brought by
family members of the victims of the Beirut bombing, who won a
$2.7 billion judgment against Iran in 2007. The families have
accused Iran of providing material support to Hezbollah, which
carried out the attack, killing 241 U.S. servicemen.
The lawsuit was filed in 2010 after the U.S. Treasury
Department uncovered $1.8 billion in Iranian funds held at
Citibank in New York, part of Citigroup Inc.
The complaint named Iran and a number of banks, including
Citi, Bank Markazi, Clearstream and Rome-based Banca UBAE, as
defendants and sought to have the funds turned over to help
satisfy the judgment. The other banks were alleged to have
helped Iran hide its control of the accounts and transfer money
out of the bank after it was ordered frozen.
The subpoena was served on a lawyer for the plaintiffs and
seeks documents they have gathered as part of their lawsuit.
The lawyer, Liviu Vogel, told U.S. District Judge Katherine
Forrest in a letter on Monday that he had received the subpoena
and intended to comply absent a court order.
Citi did not oppose the plaintiffs' request to have the
funds handed over, but Clearstream, Banca UBAE and Bank Markazi
all moved to dismiss the lawsuit.
In February 2013, Forrest ruled in the victims' favor and
ordered the funds turned over.
The transfer is on hold, however, while Bank Markazi pursues
an appeal at the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Clearstream
and Banca UBAE initially appealed before settling with the
plaintiffs last year.
In January, in a separate case, Clearstream agreed to pay
$152 million to settle U.S. government claims that the banking
unit held some $2.8 billion in securities in the United States
for Bank Markazi.
The bank said in January that the settlement ended the probe
without a formal finding that Clearstream had violated U.S.
sanctions laws prohibiting Iran's central bank from any
financial dealings with the United States.
The case is Peterson v Islamic Republic of Iran, U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of New York, No.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Mohammad