Hogan Lovells Announces Major Victory: Court Overturns Qualitest's Listing in EU Iran Sanctions Regulation

BRUSSELS, 5 December 2012 - In a judgment rendered today, the General Court of the European Union ("the Court") annulled the acts that included Qualitest FZE within the list in the EU Iran Sanctions Regulation which resulted in the freezing of the company's assets.  The Court ruled that the Council had not provided any reason to support the inclusion of Qualitest FZE in the EU Iran Sanctions Regulation.  Furthermore, the Court acknowledged the Council's manifest error of assessment in including Qualitest FZE in the list of persons subject to asset freeze under the EU Iran Sanctions Regulation.

In May 2011, Qualitest FZE's name was added to the list of entities set out in Council Regulation (EU) No 503/2011 of 23 May 2011 concerning restrictive measures against Iran without any justification.  The inclusion of Qualitest FZE in this list imposed severe financial sanctions on the company, including an asset freeze.  Qualitest FZE is not, and has never been, listed in sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council, nor has it been subject to any other sanctions adopted in any other jurisdiction.

A team of three lawyers from Hogan Lovells' Brussels office, Lourdes Catrain, Elisabethann Wright and Huijian Zhu, represented Qualitest FZE. Lourdes Catrain, the partner who led the team, says, "The Judgment demonstrates that Qualitest had been wrongly listed under the EU Iran Sanctions Regulation.  The Council's reasoning was not supported by any evidence.  Furthermore, the Court acknowledged, as argued by Qualitest, that the basis of the Council's decision to include Qualitest on the EU Iran list was inadequately reasoned.   It is rare that applicants prevail on all grounds in this type of Court action."  The judgment's clarity is a testimony to the expertise and experience of Hogan Lovells' EU team in this type of matter.

Hogan Lovells' International Trade and Investment Practice includes lawyers in the EU, US and Asia and has extensive experience in the area of economic sanctions; both working with Government Departments that implement sanctions regimes and in advising clients across a broad range of industries regarding sanctions compliance. Hogan Lovells is recognized for its client service and the ability of our global team to assess issues simultaneously in multiple jurisdictions. These issues have increased in importance to global companies due to the heightened activity in export control and economic sanctions, following the introduction of stricter EU measures with regard to Iran, Syria and other countries.

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