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Can a foreign bank with branches in the US follow me back to the US to chase a credit card and secured car loan debt?

New York, NY |


I have been living abroad in the Middle East and have had to leave in a hurry due to issues at the company I worked for; and given the habit of jailing people over there for even small defaults I feel I had no choice.

I have left behind a car with a secured loan on it (approx $10k difference between outstanding loan and current car value) and approximately $20k in credit card debts. All the debts are with the UAE subsidiary of HSBC. I also bank with HSBC USA in the US. I have no intention of ever returning to the UAE or anywhere else in the GCC.

I have a few questions:
- Does HSBC UAE have any legal basis to chase me in the US?
- Can HSBC USA take money from my US bank accounts to settle the UAE debt?
- Is there anything else HSBC USA can do to me?

Thanks in advance!

I forgot to mention that I currently do have an HSBC USA bank account... So the follow up question is whether HSBC USA can take money from my HSBC USA account to settle my HSBC UAE debts? Thanks!

Attorney Answers 2


I doubt HSBC UAE will pursue to the United States even though HSBC operates here. For starters, it just would not be economical for them to chase you here so keep your fingers crossed as you may be in the clear. A judgment from the UAE likely is not enforceable in the US without a lot of expense to HSBC. Just stay from HSBC and any of its credit card brands here.

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To answer your questions:

1. HSBC UAE does have a legal basis to pursue you in the United States. A default is a default anywhere in the world. Who knows what UAE legal system permits? Maybe they can enter a default judgment there and then send it to NY counsel to domesticate.

2. HSBC can take money from your US bank account only if they obtain a judgment in New York.

3. I'm pretty sure that no U.S. judge would domesticate a UAE judgment that would result in you being caned or incarcerated. ;-)

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