Who can be held responsible when a rogue actor directs payment from a company’s bank account? Unless discovered quickly, stolen funds are usually quickly spirited away from easy recovery. Victims of fraud therefore look for other sources of compensation, including the bank itself who executed the instruction. In England, when banks and financial institutions have reasonable grounds to believe that a payment instruction is an attempt to misappropriate a customer’s funds, they owe a duty of care to that customer to refrain from making or executing the order and make necessary inquiries before proceeding.
The Second Circuit recently held that a denial of a motion to dismiss a criminal indictment based on the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (“FSIA”) is immediately appealable under the collateral-order doctrine but concluded that even if FSIA did provide immunity from criminal prosecutions, that immunity would not extend to a foreign sovereign’s or its instrumentality’s commercial activities.
The Second Circuit has recently held that the Government must account for rental income it denied a property owner during a period of illegal seizure even though the Government was able to establish probable cause at a post-seizure hearing. The appeal stemmed from a decades-long sanctions and civil forfeiture action in which the U.S. Department of Justice has sought to forfeit, among others, a 36-story skyscraper located at 650 Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan co-owned by the Alavi Foundation, an entity accused of laundering money for Iran.