SOURCE Diaz, Reus & Targ
MIAMI, Oct. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The dismissal Sept. 30 of a billion-dollar lawsuit against Venezuela and its bank protection fund demonstrates the limits of a U.S. court's jurisdiction over disputes between foreign nationals and their governments, said defense attorney Michael Diaz of the international Miami-based firm Diaz Reus.
High-profile Venezuelan banker Nelson J. Mezerhane, now residing in Boca Raton, Fla., filed suit in Nov. 2011 in the U.S. District Court, South District of Florida (Case no. 1:11-CV-23983) claiming that the government of Venezuela and several other persons and entities, including Venezuela's equivalent of the FDIC, Fondo De Proteccion Social De Los Depositos Bancarios (FOGADE), had illegally seized his interest in Banco Federal. U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke entered an order on Monday dismissing the case.
"Although we do not yet have the full opinion, the court appears to have applied a well-settled doctrine – that claims arising from a foreign government's expropriation of the property of its own citizens, within its own territory, shouldn't be adjudicated in the U.S.," said Diaz.
Mezerhane sought to dodge the expropriation rule by alleging that he was 'stateless', even going so far as to liken his plight to that of Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust in World War II.
Diaz called that argument patently frivolous and an insult to victims of the Holocaust. "Mr. Mezerhane is a wealthy man who continues to hold himself out as a Venezuelan citizen whenever it suits his purposes to do so. Ultimately, this is about a fight between a high-profile citizen of a foreign country and his government."
Diaz Reus partner Brant Hadaway added that "the law places narrow limits on the ability of U.S. courts to second-guess actions taken by governments as to their own citizens. Today we helped uphold the importance of that legal principle."
About Diaz Reus
Diaz, Reus & Targ, LLP is a full-service international law firm offering comprehensive legal services, including international banking and financial matters, to U.S.-based and international clients from offices strategically located in 13 dynamic business centers across the US, Latin America, Middle East, Asia, and Europe. For more information, visit www.diazreus.com.
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