Iranians File Second Group of Claims Against Metro Bank

Metro

Ronald Fletcher Baker publishes a press release about its clients’ claims against Metro Bank in relation to restriction and closure of bank accounts belonging to people and companies with connections to Iran.

After that press release was published, Rokhsareh Vahid, Ronald Fletcher Baker’s Sanctions and Banking Specialist, heard from dozens of other Iranians facing the same problems. Metro Bank’s defence in relation to the first Group claim was filed on 4 June 2020. Metro Bank has admitted to having a zero-tolerance policy towards receipt of Iran-related funds and states that its policy is to close the accounts of customers with Iranian connections.

Today, Ronald Fletcher Baker has filed an additional claim against Metro Bank on behalf of 9 other individuals and companies. The issue of the “de-banking” of Iranians in the UK raised by this case is obviously a very important one, which has the potential to affect the lives of many Iranians in the UK and, in particular, their ability to access financial services.

Rokhsareh Vahid, Sanctions and Banking Specialist, at Ronald Fletcher Baker said:

  • If you are Iranian, you are well aware of our banking difficulties in the UK. I have spoken to thousands of Iranians and, too often, I have been unable to hold back my tears. From cancer patients struggling to pay for treatment, to students worried about paying tuition, to single moms scared about their children, to individuals chasing their benefit payments, to people fearing loss of their investor visas, to businesses losing incredible opportunities, too many innocent people suffer the consequences of losing their banking services suddenly due to their Iranian race or other real or perceived connections with Iran.

  • This group is made of a diverse group of Iranians of various political and religious beliefs united in seeking their basic human rights and dignity. But, this case is not just about Iranians. It is about any people whose country becomes subject to sanctions (often not even sanctions in the UK but US sanctions) and who then become "risky" to banks.

  • Our claim is that Metrobank’s policies and practices constitute unlawful discrimination on the grounds of race and breach the Equality Act, the contracts Metrobank has with its customers, and the EU Blocking Regulation which makes unlawful the extra-territorial effects of some US sanctions on Iran, and we are seeking all available remedies from Court for our clients including appropriate declarations regarding Metro Bank’s breaches of law, compensation, interest, and legal costs.

  • I invite all people of all ethnicities and racial backgrounds to join our efforts in opposing all form of discrimination. You can begin by pledging and sharing the group’s fundraiser available here: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/group-lawsuit-iranians-against-metrobank.

Rokhsareh Vahid has acted on a variety of matters pertaining to Iran and Iranians living abroad. She has successfully executed hundreds of cases on behalf of individuals and businesses against high street British banks for bank account closures and restrictions and has assisted businesses in relation to their trade with Iran in line with US, EU, and UK sanctions. Rokhsareh Vahid conducts her cases with David Burns, a partner in the firm’s litigation department.

Founded in 1950, Ronald Fletcher Baker employs 80 staff with 62 legal professionals at its four established offices in the City of London (Old Street), the West End (Baker Street), Manchester and Istanbul, and additional Russia, Ukraine and CIS, and Iran Desks. The firm acts for medium to large national and international companies, financial institutions, domestic and international governments, high net worth individuals and substantial corporate investors, many of whom are based overseas.

For further information in relation to this matter, please contact Rokhsareh Vahid by email at r.vahid@rfblegal.co.uk.

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