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Wells Fargo Asia Limited v. Citibank

decided: July 18, 1988.

WELLS FARGO ASIA LIMITED, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
CITIBANK, N.A., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Appeal from final judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Whitman Knapp, Judge, awarding plaintiff $1,066,000 as balance due on time deposits. Affirmed.

Timbers, Kearse, and Mahoney, Circuit Judges.

Author: Kearse

KEARSE, Circuit Judge:

Defendant Citibank, M.A. ("Citibank"), appeals from a final judgment entered in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York after a bench trial before Whitman Knapp, Judge, awarding plaintiff Wells Fargo Asia Limited ("WFAL") $1,066,000 as the balance due on certain time deposits carried by Citibank's branch in Manila, Philippines ("Citibank/Manila"). See 660 F. Supp. 946 (1987) ("1987 Opinion"). Citibank contends that judgment should have been entered in its favor because the obligation to repay the deposits was suspended by a decree of the Philippine government. For the reasons below, we affirm the judgment.

BACKGROUND

The pertinent facts, as found by the district court in a Memorandum and Order dated April 22, 1988 ("1988 Opinion"), and a Memorandum and Order published at 612 F. Supp. 351 (1985), and adopted in the 1987 Opinion, 660 F. Supp. at 947, are as follows. On June 10, 1983, WFAL, a Singapore-chartered bank wholly owned by the United States-chartered Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., placed two six-month, nonnegotiable U.S. $1,000,000 deposits with Citibank/Manila. The placements were initially arranged orally by the parties' traders with the assistance of an Asian money broker, Astley & Pearce ("Astley"). Astley's report to the parties stated, inter alia:

Pay: Citibank, N.A. New York Account Manila

Repay: Wells Fargo International, New York Account Wells Fargo Asia Ltd., Singapore Account #003-023645

Astley sent WFAL a telex containing the following "[i]nstructions":

Settlement -- Citibank NA NYC AC Manila

Repayment -- Wells Fargo Bk Intl NYC Ac Wells Fargo Asia Ltd Sgp No 003-023645

Thereafter, the parties exchanged written confirmations with respect to each deposit. WFAL's confirmation slips to Citibank stated:

We shall instruct Wells Fargo Bk Int'l New York our correspondent please pay to our a› with Wells Fargo Bk Int'l New York to pay to Citibank NA ...


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