ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT DEFEATS EFFORT TO MAKE IT PICK UP THE TAB ON REINSURANCE OBLIGATIONS

A plaintiff insurance company (General Star National Insurance Company) unsuccessfully moved for entry of a writ of execution and restraining notice against the Romanian Bank of Foreign Trade and its purported successors-in-interest. In an underlying action in an Ohio federal district court, General Star alleged that a Romanian company (Astra) acquired the reinsurance obligations a state-owned Romanian insurance company, but failed to remit funds owed to General Star under certain reinsurance contracts. The Ohio court found that the Romanian goverment was Astra’s alter ego and permitted General Star to attach the government’s assets to satisfy a default judgment in General Star’s favor.

Unable to satisfy its judgment in Ohio, General Star sought to execute the judgment in New York, arguing that the Romanian Bank of Foreign Trade and its successors were alter egos of the Romanian government. The argument was rejected, as General Star could not demonstrate grounds for disregarding the Bank of Foreign Trade’s or its successors’ corporate forms. Among other things, there was no proof the Romanian government exercised daily control over these entities. Moreover, although the corporate form may be disregarded if necessary to prevent fraud or injustice, General Star failed to persuade the Court that the equities weighed in favor of piercing the corporate veil. There was no showing that the corporate form was used by the Romanian government to avoid payment. The writ of execution and restraining notice were denied. General Star National Insurance Co. v. Administratia Asigurarilor de Stat, Case No. 18 MS 302 (USDC S.D.N.Y. May 12, 2010).