Friday, February 05, 2016

U.S. Opposes Chabad Subpoenas Seeking To Enforce Court Sanctions Against Russia

As previously reported, in a long-running lawsuit by a Chabad group in the United States to recover two expropriated collections of religious books from the Russian government, a D.C. federal district court last year imposed $43.7 million in sanctions on various Russian government entities that have refused to comply with the court's order after a default judgment. Chabad is attempting to enforce the sanctions by locating Russian assets in the United States. It has subpoenaed five major financial institutions seeking information on accounts of the Russian government, and of individuals such as Russian President Vladimir Putin.  National Law Journal reported yesterday that the Justice Department this week filed a Statement of Interest of the United States (full text) in the case contending that Chabad's subpoenas:
are contrary to the goal of resolving this dispute and will harm not only further diplomatic efforts to do so but also the foreign policy interests of the United States.
The government argued that any Russian assets in the subpoenaed banks are immune from attachment anyway.  And it emphasized:
The United States has invested significant resources in diplomatic efforts over many years to resolve this dispute, and it continues to believe that out-of-court dialogue with Russia, rather than litigation, presents the best opportunity for ultimate resolution.