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Robb Evans V. European Bank Notes

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ROBB EVANS V. EUROPEAN BANK FACTS This case concerns funds of which United States credit card holders had been defrauded, some US$7.5 million of which had found their way to a deposit account in the name of Benford Limited ("Benford") with European Bank Limited, the Respondent. Both Benford and the Respondent are incorporated in Vanuatu, where the deposit was made. The Appellant sought as, inter alia, receiver of Benford, to recover these funds. The Respondent filed a cross claim against Citibank Limited ("Citibank"), an Australian corporation, with which it had placed the funds on interest-bearing deposit. This issue arises because of the provisions of the United States Federal Trade Commission Act (15 USC SSSS41-58) ("FTC Act"). The credit card fraud perpetrated in the United States violated the provisions of this Act. Orders of a Californian court appointing the Appellant receiver of the persons and companies involved in the fraud, including Benford, were made on the application of the Federal Trade Commission. The question here was whether enforcement of the Californian order was barred by the exclusion of foreign laws regarding penal, revenue and other public matters or laws that enforce governmental interests. QUESTION The issue before this Court is whether, as a matter of substance, the receiver is seeking to enforce, outside the territory of the United States, the governmental interests of that nation in the sense of the exercise of powers peculiar to government. HOLDING The Exclusionary Rule The exclusionary rule under consideration in the present proceedings has long been held to apply to laws of a foreign state classified as either revenue or penal laws and, in more recent times, has extended to a further, but indeterminate, category of "foreign public laws". The High Court expressed a preference for characterising the relevant laws in terms of "governmental interests", which it identified in terms of: "claims enforcing the interests of a foreign sovereign which arise from the exercise of certain powers peculiar to government." The concept of "governmental interest", understood in terms of "powers peculiar to government", encompasses both of the previous well-established categories, i.e. revenue laws and penal laws, and also identifies the

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