Class Certification Granted in Kashef v. BNP Paribas

On May 9, 2024, United States District Judge of the Southern District of New York, Judge Hellerstein, granted a motion to certify a class of over 20,000 Sudanese refugees and asylees in Kashef v. BNP Paribas. This class is composed of victims who were forcibly displaced and brutalized as part of the Government of Sudan’s campaign of persecution and genocide against indigenous Black Africans, religious minorities, and political dissidents.

Following a hearing on May 7, 2024, Judge Hellerstein certified a Rule 23(b)(3) class. The proceedings will be bifurcated into a class trial on forced displacement and subsequent bellwethers for individuals claiming additional injuries based on torture, sexual violence, and other abuses. Judge Hellerstein sent a clear message to BNP Paribas (BNPP): “This case doesn't do any good for Bank Paribas. This is a bad memory that needs to be extirpated, and the only way that's going to be done is by resolution of this case. So, I think we have a common purpose here that we can work with to achieve a just result for many, many people without compromising the constitutional rights to a trial by jury.”

Earlier this year, in April 2024, Judge Hellerstein denied the Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment nearly in its entirety. Judge Hellerstein noted that “BNPP admitted its conscious cooperation” with Sudan’s genocidal acts. He further found that this case cannot be dismissed for lack of adequate causation where “there are too many facts showing a relationship between the dollar financing provided by BNPP, and the atrocities perpetrated by the [Government of Sudan].”

Hausfeld is honored to place our expertise in class actions, transnational litigation, and international investigation in the service of Sudanese refugees in what is now one of the largest human rights cases in the United States.

About Kashef v. BNP Paribas

Hausfeld represents a class of Sudanese refugees and asylees in the United States who were displaced from their ancestral homeland, victimized by a genocidal regime funded and sustained by BNP Paribas’s sanctions-evasion scheme. The class alleges that BNPP served as the Sudanese regime’s de facto central bank from 1997 to 2007, circumventing U.S. economic sanctions to illegally provide the Sudanese government access to U.S. financial markets, which was critical for the funding of the Sudanese government’s genocidal campaign. BNPP pled guilty to circumventing U.S. sanctions designed to prevent state-sponsored human rights abuses and terrorism and agreed to pay an $8.97 billion penalty to settle federal and state charges.

In February 2021, the court denied the bank’s motion to dismiss. Plaintiffs defeated yet another attempt by BNPP to avoid litigation in May 2022, when the court denied another motion to dismiss on forum non conveniens grounds, rejecting BNPP’s argument that the case should be heard in Switzerland rather than the U.S. The judge went on to find that BNPP’s motion was filed in bad faith. He also specifically criticized the bank’s arguments as seeking to “undermine Plaintiffs' connections to New York and the United States by characterizing them as Sudanese refugees, seemingly to suggest that [he] should treat them differently based on their national origin.” Describing BNPP’s alleged scheme with the Sudanese regime as a “profitable business relationship,” the court noted that, according to Plaintiffs’ allegations, BNPP “was able to generate those profits for the Regime (taking a cut for itself) in part because of genocide.”