Irish company allegedly owned by Russia at center of case over sanctions concerns

An Irish company allegedly ultimately owned by the Russian state is at the center of a High Court case over concerns over sanctions scrapping.

Egyptian registered companies engaged in shipping have brought legal action over several seagoing vessels which they leased from GTLK Europe Designated Activity Company of registered address at Hume Street, Dublin 2.

It is alleged that GTLK, which charters planes and sea vessels, is ultimately owned by the Vladimir Putin regime’s transport agency, which became the subject of international sanctions after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

The Central Bank of Ireland is also a defendant in the proceedings.

The court heard the Cypriot companies claiming under leasing contracts that they were entitled to purchase the various vessels from GTLK, valued at several million euros.

Several preliminary issues in the lawsuits were briefly raised in court this week.

The lawsuits will be brought back to court early next week.

On Thursday, Marcus Dowling SC, who acted with Stephen Brittain Bl for Cypriot Gravelor Shipping Limited, Avonburg Finance Ltd and its shareholders Capstans Holding Limited and Valbridge Ltd, said the cases his clients have brought are extremely complex and urgent.

The case of his clients is that they had leased the seagoing vessels with GTLK.

His clients are not subject to international sanctions, but GTLK and its affiliates are, the attorney said.

The lawyer said they have made sanctions claims against GTLK and a related Malta-based entity called GTLK Malta who are trying to “specifically carry out” the sale of the vessels.

The lawyer said one of the main problems in the cases, when the procedure was first mentioned in court last month, was that the European Union set an early December deadline for such transactions to be completed.

However, the attorney said matters became even more extreme and urgent when the US Treasury Department recently set an early September deadline for closing deals with sanctioned companies like GTLK.

The attorney said his clients could end up being sanctioned themselves if they did business with GTLK after the deadlines.

His clients have also included the Central Bank of Ireland as a defendant in their case.

He said the central bank is the body that regulates sanctions against Russia and Russia-related entities in that jurisdiction.

The Central Bank would have to approve any purchase of assets from GTLK to the Cypriot entities.

His client wrote to the central bank about the matter, but they received no meaningful response.

While it has been accepted that the central bank is very busy, the lawyer said its stance on the issues raised by its clients is “not known” at this time.

However, he added that the bank’s lawyers indicated in the correspondence that they did not believe that the lawsuits brought by the Cyprus-based companies could be settled summarily by the courts.

His clients are particularly concerned about the imminent setting of a deadline by the US authorities and want the cases to be decided in court as quickly as possible.

In ruling on the preliminary questions, Judge Carmel Stewart granted the plaintiff companies permission on an ex parte basis to amend their subpoena to serve their case on the Malta resident defendant.

Mr. Dowling said his client had to make the application because of a problem regarding the correct address of this particular defendant.

The matter was adjourned to next Tuesday’s court session. Irish company allegedly owned by Russia at center of case over sanctions concerns

Fry Electronics Team

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