Irish company claims US wrongly sanctioned them

Irish Company Claims Bank Account Freeze Due to Misapplied US Sanctions. Cubit, a company involved in the sale and supply of semiconductor equipment, was subjected to US sanctions for its dealings with Mikron KSC, a Russian entity.

Cubit Semiconductor Limiter, which claims it was unfairly sanctioned by US President Joe Biden, filed a lawsuit in the High Court over AIB’s decision to freeze its bank accounts.

The company’s directors are Jae Sik Ban, an Irish citizen, and his wife Joung Ok Houng, originally from South Korea. The company, which deals in the sale and supply of new and used semiconductor equipment, was sanctioned by the US for its ties to a Russian entity called Mikron KSC.

The company, which has been trading in this field since 2011, had a turnover of 4.9 million euros in 2023. From 2016 to 2022, the company paid Mikron 47,000 euros for the supply of goods in nine different tranches.

In late March 2022, a courier was allegedly dispatched from Cubit’s Korean office to pick up the goods for Mikron, but the goods were not received until April 4, 2022.

They are preparing for a costly and long process

On March 31, 2022, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which administers and enforces economic sanctions imposed by the country, added Mikron to the list of entities sanctioned for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As a result of the transaction being deemed to have taken place after OFAC designated Mikron as a sanctioned entity, the United States also sanctioned the plaintiff in February on the orders of US President Biden.

Cubit plans to appeal this decision in the US, which it says will be costly and time-consuming. The company says it has been ‘devastated’ and has effectively stopped trading following its inclusion on the list of sanctioned entities.

The company claims that the US sanction is a ‘secondary sanction’, has no effect under Irish or EU law, and that there are no EU or Irish sanctions against the firm. The company’s directors want to liquidate the firm, but say they cannot take the necessary steps because their bank accounts have been frozen.

Lawyers for the company say it does not trade in Russia or the US, does not operate in a region that supports the Russian military, and has no other relationship with any sanctioned entity.

In its lawsuit against AIB PLC, Cubit is seeking several orders, including injunctions prohibiting the bank from continuing to freeze or suspend accounts or from closing accounts.

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