C-117/06, Möllendorf and Others

In this case, the referring Court asked for an interpretation of Council Regulation 881/2002, which imposed certain specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities associated with Usama bin Laden, the Al‑Qaida network and the Taliban.

Essentially, the Court was asked whether, in a situation where both the contract for the sale of immovable property and the agreement on transfer of ownership of that property had been concluded before the date on which the buyer was included in the list in Annex I to Regulation 881/2002 and where the sale price had also been paid before that date, Articles 2(3) and 4(1) of that regulation must be interpreted as prohibiting the final registration, in performance of that contract, of the transfer of ownership in the Land Register subsequent to that date.

The Court held that a transaction such as final registration of transfer of ownership of immovable property in the Land Register was prohibited under Article 2(3) of Regulation 881/2002 if, in consequence of that transaction, were it to be allowed, an economic resource was made available to a person listed in Annex I to that regulation, which would enable the latter to obtain funds, goods or services.

The Court held that the alleged infringement of the right to property concerned indirect effects, on the property rights of persons other than those so listed, brought about by the obligation to repay which might arise, in accordance with the applicable national law, as a result of the fact that, pursuant to Article 2(3) of Regulation 881/2002 it was not possible to proceed with final registration of the transfer of ownership of the immovable property in the Land Register.

Consequently, the question whether, in view of the special features of the case before the referring court, such an obligation to make repayment was a disproportionate infringement of the right to property could have any effect on the question whether Article 2(3) of Regulation 881/2002 applied to a situation such as that in the case before the referring court.

That question was therefore a matter of national law and could not be examined in the context of the present reference for a preliminary ruling.


The Court however reiterated that the requirements flowing from the protection of fundamental rights within the Community legal order were also binding on Member States when they implemented Community rules, and that consequently they were bound, as far as possible, to apply the rules in accordance with those requirements. (see, inter alia, Joined Cases C-20/00 and C-64/00, Booker Aquaculture and Hydro Seafood (2003))

Therefore, it was for the referring court to determine whether, in view of the special features of the case before it, repayment of the sums received by the sellers would constitute a disproportionate infringement of their right to property and, if that is the case, to apply the national legislation in question, so far as is possible, in such a way that the requirements flowing from Community law were not infringed.

Text of Judgment