On 18 September 2014, the General Court rejected a claim brought by Aguy Georgias, Zimbabwe’s former Deputy Minister for Economic Planning and Development, for damages suffered by him and his companies, Trinity Engineering and Georgiadis Trucking, as a result of being subject to a travel ban and asset freeze from 2007 to 2011 pursuant to the EU’s sanctions regime related to Zimbabwe. Mr. Georgias was listed under Commission Regulation (EC) No 412/2007. Mr. Georgias had not sought to annul his actual listing.
The claim for damages related to an incident that occurred on 25 May 2007, when the former minister was detained at Heathrow Airport, London, and refused leave to enter or transit through the UK as part of a trip to visit family living in England, en route to New York. This allegedly forced him to incur additional travelling and hotel costs. Mr. Georgias also claimed for medical expenses related to personal stress caused by the freezing of his assets, and advertising costs incurred to mitigate the negative effects of the sanctions on his personal reputation.
The General Court rejected Mr. Georgias’s claim for two main reasons. First, he was refused entry into the UK by the authorities of a Member State, not the EU, so the alleged damage could not be said to have been caused by the EU’s sanctions. Second, his listing was lawful as the reason provided by the EU for his listing - his status as a Deputy Minister - was sufficient because the Zimbabwean sanctions regime was targeted at members of the Zimbabwean government.