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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

2nd Circuit: Court upholds dismissal of whistleblower suit alleging Iran sanctions violations

Courts Second Circuit En Banc FCA Whistleblower Sanctions Iran Appeals

Courts

On October 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied a petition for a panel rehearing en banc in a False Claims Act (FCA) suit that was dismissed in 2020. The whistleblower suit, filed in 2019, alleged violations of the U.S.’s sanctions on Iran by exchanging foreign currency for U.S. dollars on behalf of Iranian and related terrorist entities. In July 2020, the whistleblower suit was dismissed after the court agreed with U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York’s motion to dismiss because the compliant was “legally deficient as it is premised on an incorrect legal theory of liability that is inconsistent with both the FCA and the law regarding civil forfeiture.” The plaintiff appealed to the 2nd Circuit arguing that the district court needed to hold a hearing; however, the 2nd Circuit found the suit had been properly dismissed and that the judge considered extensive briefing before making the determination of the dismissal.