Japan bank freezes Iran accounts after court order

Japan bank freezes Iran accounts after court order

TOKYO - Agence France-Presse
A Japanese bank has halted transactions by the Iranian government after a U.S. court ordered a $2.6 billion asset freeze over the 1983 bombing of U.S. barracks in Beirut, a bank spokesman said yesterday.

“We have received the order from the US court,” to freeze $2.6 billion of assets, a spokesman for the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ told Agence France-Presse, declining to give details on the value of Iranian holdings at the bank.

The court order reflects “the amount that the court in 2007 upheld for compensation
demands by families of victims of the 1983 attacks on US forces in Beirut,” he said.

The bank lodged an appeal against the U.S. court order yesterday, Japan time, he said.

“One of the reasons for the appeal is that the U.S. court has ordered a freeze on assets in accounts not only in the United States

but also in Japan, which is problematic under Japanese law,” the spokesman said.

“We can’t comment on how much or whose assets related to Iran are in the bank’s accounts,” he added, while saying that the bank “handles a large number of trade transactions with Iran.”

On October 23, 1983, a 19-ton explosives-laden truck rammed through barricades and detonated in front of the U.S. barracks in the Lebanese capital, killing 241 U.S. troops.As part of the same wave of attacks, a French barracks was also bombed, killing 58 French paratroopers.Tehran has denied responsibility for the attacks, but Washington subsequently named Iran on a list of terrorism-supporting states.