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Uzimterimpex V. Standard Bank Notes

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UZIMTERIMPEX V. STANDARD BANK FACTS The claimant, Uzinterimpex JSC (then known zas FBC Innovatsia), against the defendant, Standard Bank plc, for US$916,267.36. The claim arose out of a contract for the sale by Uzinterimpex, an Uzbek state company, to an English cotton trader, A Meredith Jones
& Co Ltd, of 50,000 metric tonnes ("mt") of cotton and the arrangements made with Standard Bank to obtain the finance needed to pay for the goods. The contract provided that the goods were to be shipped at the rate of 8,000 mt a month between October and December 1997 and at the rate of 8,666 mt a month between January and March 1998. Between October 1997 and September 1998 a number of parcels of cotton were delivered by Uzinterimpex at the various ports or places provided for in the sale contract. In some cases documents were tendered to the bank which conformed to the terms of the letter of credit or which the bank was willing to accept (no doubt on the instructions of AMJ) despite the fact that they did not. In such cases the bank took the steps necessary to reduce the amount of the guarantee in accordance with its terms. However, from the outset both sides experienced difficulties in performing the contract. AMJ failed to give instructions for the shipping of cotton in the amounts and at the times required and Uzinterimpex was unable or unwilling to make prompt presentation under the letter of credit of documents complying with its terms. Bank's refusal to discharge the goods despite release of the injunction When the bank made its call on the guarantee it was still holding documents of title to 8,170 mt of cotton which had been presented by Uzinterimpex for payment but which did not conform to the letter of credit. The bank asked AMJ whether it was willing to accept the documents, but it declined to do so. On the same day AMJ commenced arbitration against Uzinterimpex under the auspices of the Liverpool Cotton Association seeking damages for non-delivery of part of the cotton sold under the contract. At the same time it obtained without notice an injunction restraining Uzinterimpex from dealing with any of the cotton covered by the documents of title held at the bank's counters. In fact less than a half of the cotton covered by the documents still remained in warehouse; AMJ had already managed to obtain delivery of the rest. The injunction remained in place until 17 April 2000 when it was discharged by consent following an admission by AMJ that it had sold about 5,455 mt of the cotton before the application had been made, a matter which it had entirely failed to draw to the attention of the court. However, notwithstanding the discharge

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