Group Lawsuit- Iranians against Metro Bank over account closures

by Pursuit of Justice

Group Lawsuit- Iranians against Metro Bank over account closures

by Pursuit of Justice
Pursuit of Justice
Case Owner
I am Elizabeth Teal, PA at one of many companies severely affected by the recent actions of Metro Bank. I aim to seek justice for the Iranians who we feel have suffered discrimination
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Pursuit of Justice
Case Owner
I am Elizabeth Teal, PA at one of many companies severely affected by the recent actions of Metro Bank. I aim to seek justice for the Iranians who we feel have suffered discrimination
Pledge now

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Latest: July 1, 2020

Important

Dear Supporters,


We have a message for you from our legal team:


“This case is brought by a number of people and companies whose bank accounts Metrobank has restricted and closed on the grounds th…

Read more

My name is Elizabeth Teal and I am the PA to one of the claimants in the group action against Metro Bank Plc. To help the group, I volunteered to set this page up. 

The group is made up of 30 individuals and companies with different political, religious, and financial backgrounds. They have filed a claim in Court against Metro because of Metro Bank's unfair actions. 

The group chose this platform, Crowd Justice, to raise donations because it is a regulated entity and it pays donations only into law firms' client fund accounts. Therefore, the use of all donations will be regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. 

The group is looking to create a legal fees fund for British-Iranian individuals and businesses who are affected by the unfair actions of Metro Bank and other British banks. This fund will enable those affected to pay for the significant legal costs in the existing case against Metro Bank and/or to finance legal action for other individuals and businesses who face similar difficult situations and cannot afford legal fees. It is expensive and very risky to take legal action in court but, without rights, what else do we have? If we win, equality wins and everyone benefits.

What we want to achieve ultimately is justice! Metro Bank has unfairly and without explanation frozen dozens of bank accounts, both business and personal, of many customers without warning; blocking access to their funds for long periods of time. And we believe they should answer for this and never do this to anyone else in the future. We see this as an act of pure discrimination because it is happening to so many individuals with Iranian decent, or simply to those related to someone with Iranian decent! How can it be fair or right that Metro Bank can discriminate against customers based on country of origin?! How can we let them get away with this? We aim to bring Metro Bank to justice and make sure this never happens again to other people!

This unprecedented action has caused huge disruption, emotional upset and business losses to many customers. As a result of their funds being frozen, businesses have suffered big setbacks and individuals have struggled in the simplest of ways, such as not even being able to buy groceries. The worst part is that Iranians have been targeted simply due to their ethnic background and the distress this causes is huge, ongoing and it must end now! We need your support: please contribute and share this page now!

Please see below links that further explain the plight of these British-Iranians:

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/dec/15/uk-universitity-tells-iranin-student-pay-tuition-fees-in-cash-trump-sanctions

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/apr/24/metro-bank-freezes-account-iran-nhs-pharmacy

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/mar/17/metro-bank-hit-with-fresh-lawsuit-by-iranian-customers

A claim has been issued in Court and, therefore, the Court is managing this case. The Court has access to full details of the case including claimants' names and bank accounts. 

The next step is for Metro Bank to provide explanations to the Court and the claimants for its actions. The group will then consider those explanations and the evidence and, if appropriate, prepare for trial.

Thank you so much for taking the time to support this very worthy cause. Together, we will achieve justice!

Please note: This is a non-political non-religious action. Our group includes individual of all political and religious views who are joined by the goal to fight discrimination and defend human rights. We welcome all people of all racial and religious backgrounds, and we ask that you please do not make any political or divisive comments when you make your pledge.

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Update 3

Pursuit of Justice

July 1, 2020

Important

Dear Supporters,


We have a message for you from our legal team:


“This case is brought by a number of people and companies whose bank accounts Metrobank has restricted and closed on the grounds that they have connections with Iran. Metrobank has now admitted in its Defence to claim that it is operating a “zero-tolerance” policy with regards to transactions to or from Iran. Any customer of Metrobank who has made such transactions therefore faces the prospect of having his or her accounts restricted and closed, possibly without notice or reasons. Metrobank further admits that other connections with Iran will also result in it closing customers’ accounts: for example, trading with Iran or being employed by an entity that trades with, or is resident in, Iran.


This widespread practice of “de-banking” or “de-risking” has had a hugely negative impact on the access of thousands of people to basic banking services in the UK. It also poses very substantial problems for UK businesses, which are owned by Iranian nationals or have other connections to Iran. The claim is that Metrobank’s policies and practices constitute unlawful discrimination on the grounds of race and breach the Equality Act, the contracts Metrobank has with its customers, and the EU Blocking Regulation which makes unlawful the extra-territorial effects of some US sanctions on Iran. We would enormously appreciate your support so the case can be run effectively and so that we can ensure these important points of law are properly considered by the UK courts.”

Our legal team is led by Maya Lester QC and Emma Mockford of Brick Court Chambers.


This case is about access to banking services and it affects every Iranian in the UK. We hope you will pledge and share this fundraiser with all of your family and friends.


Although our legal team are assisting on a ‘no-win, no-fee’ basis, funding is required for other costs such as ATE insurance premium, court fees, and other litigation expenses. We are almost at our initial target, but we are far from what is required. Any extra funds will be used to support other civil rights cases for people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer.


Let’s stand up to discrimination and get this done!


Kind Regards,


Elizabeth Teal

Claimants in this Group Litigation

Update 2

Pursuit of Justice

June 26, 2020

Happy update!

Great news: We got a 10-day extension, & we are only £900 away from our target!

 

If you have been following our case, you know this isn’t just about these claimants and Metro bank. This case is about banking services of all Iranians in the UK:

1.   This is not just another account restriction case.

Unfortunately, Iranians in the UK too often deal with banks closing their accounts without giving a reason. But, this is not just one of those cases. To the best of ours and our lawyers’ knowledge, something like this has never happened before in the UK.

Metro restricted so many Iranian accounts without notice and it kept the accounts blocked for weeks and months without providing any reason for the restriction. We were left chasing our own money for weeks and months and not knowing if we were ever getting it back. We were constantly stonewalled by Metro and told to wait for a ‘compliance review’ which had no deadline. Some of us depended on every penny in our account to pay for our basic living expenses and had no other bank accounts. Some of us didn’t get our money back until after we filed this claim, about one year after the restriction!

Can you imagine the emotional and financial stress of losing all of your money overnight and not knowing if or when you are going to get it back?

2.   This case should matter to every Iranian in the UK.

If we do not take a stand against our unannounced prolonged account restrictions, other British banks might do the same thing to other Iranians in the future. Then, anyone of us can be the next victim of another bank. What happened to us can happen to any Iranian in the UK. You might wake up one day to find your accounts blocked and spend weeks and months chasing your own money and suffering emotionally and financially in the meantime. Is that something you would want to face?’

We are so thankful to our donors for joining us on this journey, and we hope every other Iranian in the UK will do the same! Let’s do this!’

 

Update 1

Pursuit of Justice

June 23, 2020

3 days to go! Let's do this! UPDATE

Dear donors.

Hope you are all very well.

Once again many thanks for your generous donation. Without 

Every little helps this worthy cause and your donations are helping our case greatly. The more support we have the stronger we are and appear in this case.  

So far we have raised an impressive £3225! However, we require just a bit more to reach our target £5000. We are close!

As the case moves on we are finding more and more British Iranians who have been affected by what we see as the discriminatory actions of Metro Bank.

We have now received Metro’s reasons for blocking and closing our accounts. Our legal team have considered Metro’s reasons and, as they are unhappy with these reasons, they are now preparing a reply to those reasons and this will be filed with the Court very soon. In addition, our lawyers are preparing to add more claimants to this case because so many people have suffered as a result of Metro’s actions. I will, of course, provide further updates with you as we go forward if we can keep this fundraiser alive and going!’ 

Please keep sharing the link and encouraging other to pledge. It's amazing what we can achieve when we work together and ultimately achieve the justice we are due.

Thank you all again for your ongoing kind support.

Best and warm wishes to you all.

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