Citigroup Global Markets Inc. v. Abbar, No. 13-2172 (2d Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Ghazi Abbar, manager of the Abbar family trusts, lost $383 million invested with a United Kingdom affiliate of Citigroup and seeks to arbitrate his grievances under the rules of FINRA against a New York affiliate. The district court permanently enjoined the arbitration because Abbar is not a "customer" of the New York affiliate. The court held that a "customer" under FINRA Rule 12200 is one who, while not a broker or dealer, either (1) purchases a good or service from a FINRA member, or (2) has an account with a FINRA member. While Abbar was certainly a "customer " of Citi UK, that relationship does not allow Abbar to compel arbitration against its corporate affiliates. Because Abbar was not a customer of Citi NY, a FINRA member, he cannot arbitrate his claims against Citi NY.