The Moscow Fire Insurance Company, the Northern Insurance Company of Moscow, and the First Russian Insurance Company were incorporated in Russia under the Czarist regime, and given authority to do business in New York. Deposits were made in New York for the benefit of policy holders and creditors in this country. Subsequent to the revolution in Russia and the Soviet decrees nationalizing all Russian corporations and confiscating without compensation such corporations' assets in Russia and abroad, these deposits were turned over to the New York State Insurance Commissioner for liquidation. Large sums remained after domestic claims were satisfied and the court ordered them turned over to the defendant institutions to be held in trust for whomsoever should be entitled thereto. The old boards of directors and shareholders in the old corporations instituted actions in the New York courts to have this money turned over to them. In November of 1933 the United States recognized the Soviet Government and an assignment was made by the Soviet Government to the United States Government of all claims which the Soviet Government had to property in the United States at that time. The United States Government brought suit in the Federal District Court, Eastern District of New York, claiming the funds in question on the ground that the Soviet decrees of confiscation gave the Soviet Government title to the funds and that the claims to them had been assigned to the United States Government. The district court decided against the claim of the United States on the ground that the Soviet decrees were against the public policy of the United States and were ineffective to pass title to this property, and also that the purported assignment did not include these funds. On certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, held, because the New York courts had retained control and jurisdiction over the funds and its proceedings were not terminated, and the suit of the United States was for the specific funds and not in personam merely, the United States must bring its suit in the New York courts. United States v. Bank of New York & Trust Co., 296 U.S. 463, 56 S. Ct. 343 (1936).
INTERNATIONAL LAW - RECOGNITION OF SOVIET RUSSIA - EXTRATERRITORIAL EFFECT OF DECREES OF CONFISCATION AND NATIONALIZATION,
Mich. L. Rev.
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