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Media coverage | 3 September 2018

Axel Hellman quoted in Bourse & Bazaar

Source: Bourse & Bazaar

“Europe can win this battle, a point that Axel Hellman makes for Al-Monitor. After all, SWIFT is located in Belgium, not New York, and jurisdiction over SWIFT surely trumps lack of jurisdiction.”

“An alternative messaging service would have to be capable of providing bankers with sufficient usability so that Iranian oil sales can proceed fluidly. In a recent paper, Esfandyar Batmanghelidj and Axel Hellman give some clues into what this system would look like. During the previous SWIFT ban, several European banks were able to maintain their relationships with Iranian financial institutions by using “ad hoc messaging systems.” These ad hoc solutions could be revived, note Batmanghelidj and Hellman.

Using this ad hoc system, so-called gateway banks—those that have both access to the ECB’s large value payments system Target2 and limited exposure to the U.S. financial system—would conduct euro transactions on behalf of buyers and sellers of Iranian oil. Since presumably only a few gateways would be necessary to conduct this trade, it would be relatively painless for them to learn the new messaging language and the set of processes involved. For instance, instead of using SWIFT bank identifier codes to indicate account numbers, Batmanghelidj and Hellman point to the possibility of using IBAN numbers, an entirely different international standard.”