Anglo Irish Bank Wins Dismissal of U.S. Noteholder’s Suit Over Bank’s Sale

Anglo Irish Bank Corp., the bank nationalized by the Irish government in 2009, won dismissal of a noteholder lawsuit that sought to block the sale of its U.S. loan portfolio.

U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe in Manhattan said in an order yesterday that the claims were prohibited by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

“Defendant is a ‘foreign state’ within the meaning of the” Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Gardephe said. “Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that Ireland has waived sovereign immunity for purposes of this action or that any exception to sovereign immunity is applicable.”

Fir Tree Partners, a New York investment firm, sued Anglo Irish Bank in February, claiming it owns $200 million of notes the bank issued in the U.S. Fir Tree sought an order blocking Anglo Irish Bank from transferring any U.S. assets out of the country so it can force the bank to honor its debt obligations.

Paul Smith, a lawyer for Fir Tree, didn’t immediately return a call to his office seeking comment on the ruling after regular business hours yesterday.

The case is Fir Tree Capital Opportunity Master Fund LP v. Anglo Irish Bank Corp., 11-CV-0955, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporters on this story: Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles at epettersson@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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