Adrian Beltrami KC and Hannah Glover successful for the EU in €135m loan dispute with Syria

Adrian Beltrami KC and Hannah Glover, instructed by Sarah Garvey of Allen & Overy, have successfully obtained summary judgment for the European Union to recover €135m owed by the Syrian Arab Republic. The claim results from Syria’s failure to repay instalments under five development loans – entered into between 1 November 2004 and 8 December 2008 – by which the European Investment Bank agreed to make €700m available to Syria for infrastructure and development projects. Syria’s repayment obligations under the loans were guaranteed by the EU. When Syria failed to make repayments as they fell due, the EU indemnified the EIB for its losses. Mr Simon Salzedo KC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) found that the EU had therefore been subrogated to the European Investment Bank’s rights under the loan agreements, and that Syria had no real prospect of defending the claim. The EU was granted judgment for €135m.

This follows the previous decision of Mr Justice Butcher on 21 April 2023 validating the service of this claim on Syria by email. On that occasion Catherine Gibaud KC and Hannah Glover obtained a declaration that the proceedings had been validly served on Syria by email sent by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office to the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, continuing a line of recent authority on the scope of the statutory mechanism for service of proceedings on a sovereign State under the State Immunity Act 1978. The service decision can be read in full at European Union and European Investment Bank v Syrian Arab Republic [2023] EWHC 1116 (Comm).

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