The European Union and its investment arm have won a court ruling against the Syrian government over its failure to make outstanding loan payments worth $167 million.
A High Court judge approved the European Union’s request for summary judgment against the Syrian government regarding five development loans provided by the European Investment Bank between 2004 and 2008.
The European Union acted as a guarantor for the loans provided by the European Investment Bank, which were intended for infrastructure projects, and the bloc compensated its lending arm for the losses incurred as a result of the Syrian government’s failure to pay its debts since 2012.
The plaintiff filed its last claim in 2022 and faced a lengthy process to accept the case.
The Supreme Court ruled in April that the claim properly filed in the country in a way that did not violate the terms of the 1978 State Immunity Law.
However, the Syrian government stopped responding to the lawsuit in 2022 despite its approval initially through its embassy in Brussels, including initially sending the defense by post.
However, no defense presented at the last hearing before the court in London.
However, the court heard one of the possible arguments regarding the sanctions imposed by the European Union following the Syrian events in 2011 and the Syrian government’s assertion that those events hindered the Syrian Central Bank from paying.
However, the prosecuting attorney, Adrian Beltrami, said that the Syrian government has shown no effort to obtain an exception that can make the payments, and it also has responsibility for the payments and if it cannot pay through these frozen accounts, it must find another way.
Beltrami noted that the EU sought summary judgment that could be more easily enforced in other jurisdictions where the Syrian government holds assets.
The judge agreed that the burden of proving the exception rested with the party that failed to pay.
The judge said in an oral ruling that the Syrian government, which wasn’t represented in court, had every opportunity to attend Friday’s hearing but that “the evidence indicates that it decided not to participate in these proceedings”.
In 2018, a specialized court issued a similar decision in favor of the European Union and the European Investment Bank against the Syrian government regarding other loans that haven’t been repaid, and their interest continues to increase.