SUPREME COURT SEEKS US OPINION

SUPREME COURT SEEKS US OPINION

The Supreme Court, in a case with potentially billions of dollars at stake, Monday requested the Bush administration view of a ruling that said U.S. banks with branch offices overseas must pay depositors when foreign governments freeze those accounts.

The court said it wants to hear from Justice Department lawyers before acting on an appeal by Citibank. It was ordered to pay a depositor whose account was frozen by the Philippines government of the late President Ferdinand Marcos.The government's response could take months.

The justices reviewed the dispute in 1990, and at that time ordered the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City to reconsider its earlier decision against Citibank.