BOV proceedings against Italy over Deiulemar case dismissed by human rights court

Deiulemar case | Bank of Valletta is told by the European Court of Human Rights its case against Italy is inadmissible since the bank still has remedies it can pursue

One of the protest marches by residents of Torre del Greco, who lost their savings in Deiulemar bonds
One of the protest marches by residents of Torre del Greco, who lost their savings in Deiulemar bonds

The European Court of Human Rights has turned down Bank of Valletta’s proceedings over claims of unfair treatment in Italy linked to the Deiulemar case.

The ECHR decided that the bank’s application was "inadmissible" at this stage of the proceedings since BOV still had remedies to exhaust in Italy.

The bank filed proceedings against Italy before the ECHR in 2019, claiming that Italian law does not provide a remedy for its fair hearing concerns in respect of the claim made against it by the curators in the bankruptcy of the Deiulemar Group.

The Deiulemar case is being heard in the courts of Torre Annunziata, in Italy, a small provincial town where the majority of creditors seeking compensation from BOV originate.

Some 13,000 bondholders of the Deiulemar Group, a bankrupt shipping company, are claiming €363 million from BOV. An initial offer of €50 million by BOV to settle the claim was rejected.

On Tuesday, BOV reiterated that the curators’ claim was “entirely without any legal or factual basis”.

“The Bank will continue to pursue its defence vigorously, including its fair hearing concerns, before the Italian courts.  If those prove unsuccessful, the Bank will petition the European Court of Human Rights again, once the Italian remedies have been fully exhausted,” BOV said in a statement.

Last December, BOV CEO Rick Hunkin told MaltaToday that the bank did not want to drag the case through the various levels of court litigation, as it wanted to be clear of this “shadow that has been hanging over the bank for a number of years”.

He said the bank was intent on settling the case out of court, despite sticking to its stand that it had no blame and played no part in the decision-making that led the investors to lose their money.