Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Thursday, July 3, 2014

FLORIDA APPEALS COURT ALLOWS ECUADOR TO SUE FUGITIVE BANKERS

The Third District Court of Appeal has ruled that the Government of the Republic of Ecuador has the right to sue two fugitive bankers, in civil court in Florida, who illegally withdrew a reported $600m from Filanbanco, a prominent bank that they owned in Ecuador. The finds were part of a government injection of $1.16bn in capital, when the bank suffered a liquidity shortfall, during a national economic crisis.

 The government seized Ecuadorian assets of the defendants, Roberto Isaias Dassum and William Isaias Dasum, amounting to around $400m, but approximately $200m was still owed. The trial court in Miami ruled in favor of the defendants, who by then were local residents, entering a summary judgement, meaning that the Court found that there were no material issues of fact, and the defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter if law.

The 3rd District reversed, holding that Ecuador was not seizing property through "executive fiat," but merely seeking to obtain a judgment, and thereafter levy upon the defendants' substantial assets in Florida. it would still have to prove up its case. Readers who are students of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, and the Act of State Doctrine, may want to review the complete text* of the decision, which contains extensive citations to authority. The court remanded the case back down to the trial court, for further proceedings, meaning that it will now proceed.
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*Republic of Ecuador vs. Roberto Isaias Dassum and William Isaias Dassum, Case No.: 3D13-1753 (3rd Dist. Fla. 2014).  

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