Enforcement News: alter ego doctrine & attaching pledged accounts in France

Archipel recovers USD 30 million on behalf of Commisimpex from a pledged account belonging to an alter ego of the Republic of Congo.
In two judgments (available here and here) won on the same day, the Versailles Court of Appeal confirmed that Société nationale des pétroles du Congo (SNPC), despite its apparent reorganisation, remains an alter ego (“émanation”) of the Republic of Congo and thus liable for the state’s obligations under two ICC arbitral awards. Key lessons from this case: an alter ego finding under French law depends on actual practice and overall facts more than by-laws and legal structure.
 
The court also ruled – in accordance with the wording of the law but against French banks’ practices – that a pledge (nantissement) on a bank account cannot defeat an attachment as it does not prevent the account holder from withdrawing monies until the pledge is enforced.

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