The most relevant European updates from the global International Arbitration and ADR practice group at Garrigues.

ARMENIA

Armenia faces treaty ICSID claim on infrastructure concession agreement

According to recent news, a Dubai-based investment company Rasia Group and its American CEO Joseph Borkowski have brought a US$150 million ICSID claim against Armenia over concessions to build and operate economically and politically important road and rail links that would transport oil from Iran among other freight and provide access to valuable mineral resources.

CYPRUS

ICSID tribunal dismisses Greek investor treaty claim

In an award issued on 30 July 2018, an ICSID tribunal has dismissed a €1.05 billion treaty claim against Cyprus brought by the Greek former owners under the 1992 Greece-Cyprus bilateral investment treaty of a now-defunct bank that was taken over by the government during the eurozone crisis.The ICSID claim concerned the treatment of Laiki Bank (previously known as Cyprus Popular Bank), which was partly owned by the claimants before the Cypriot government acquired an 84% stake in June 2012 in a €1.8 billion recapitalisation that was intended to limit the bank’s exposure to defaulting Greek debt.According to the tribunal, the recapitalisation was not attributable to Cyprus under international law despite the fact that the government held the majority stake in the bank from that time, and even if such actions were attributable to Cyprus, they would not constitute violations of the BIT.

ESTONIA

Estonia faces new US treaty claim on bribes and expropriated port facility

Estonia to face a US$150 million treaty claim filed by an investor Alexander Rotko that says its investment in a Tallinn seaport was expropriated after the company refused demands by local politicians to pay bribes.

England

Saudi Prince faces jail for breaching English contempt laws on award enforcement

Saudi prince Prince Hussam Bin Saud Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud ordered to pay nearly US$530 million to Kuwaiti-listed mobile phone operator Zain in an LCIA arbitration award faces jail in the UK for breaching English contempt laws by failing to halt legal proceedings he brought in Riyadh in relation to the same dispute.

RUSSIA

Russian online retailer Ulmart ordered by LCIA court to buy out stake of Vasinkevich

An LCIA tribunal has ordered shareholders in Russian online retailer Ulmart to buy out the stake of businessman Mikhail Vasinkevich for US$67 million.The tribunal had determined the price of the 38.5% shareholding owned by Vasinkevich, which his partners Dmitry Kostygin and August Meier will now have to purchase.

Russian oligarch Deripaska accused of blocking LCIA case via lawsuit funding

An English court will deal with allegations that Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska improperly instigated a third-party lawsuit to frustrate a US$100 million LCIA arbitration over a real estate project in Moscow.

SPAIN

Spain faces new enforcement claim of Solar investors in D.C.

Following the Eiser Infrastructure asking a court in Washington, DC to enforce a €128 million ICSID award issued in May 2017 against Spain and obtained in an Energy Charter Treaty claim over the country’s solar reforms, two more European solar investors (Antin Infrastructure Services Luxembourg and Antin Energia Termosolar) have asked a court in Washington, DC, to enforce a €112 million ICSID award that held Spain liable for reforms to its renewable energy subsidy regime. Meanwhile, Spain is seeking to reduce the amount of the award obtained by the European solar investors through rectification proceedings.

Spain seeks to disqualify the Columbian arbitrator Eduardo Zuleta in one of the numerous arbitration proceedings it faces related to renewable energy policies

Spain has just submitted a proposal to disqualify Columbian arbitrator Eduardo Zuleta as president of the arbitration tribunal in the case brought against it in 2015 by the German investor STEAG GmbH under the Energy Charter (STEAG Gmbh v Spain (ICSID Case No. ARB/15/4)). According to the information published, the disqualification is related to the award issued recently against Spain in another arbitration proceeding under the Energy Charter (Antin Infrastructure Services Luxembourg Sarl and Antin Energia Termosolar BV v Spain (ICSID Case No. ARB/13/31)) in which Zuleta was also president of the arbitration tribunal.

Mexican investors bring arbitration proceedings against Spain following the collapse of Banco Popular

A group of Mexican investors, former shareholders of Banco Popular, led by Antonio Del Valle, have filed a claim against Spain due to its role in the collapse of Banco Popular. According to the information provided by the Mexican group, formally two claims have been brought: one at the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and the other under the umbrella of the UN according to the arbitration rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).They consider that Spain breached the guarantees and protection established in the bilateral investment treaty between Spain and Mexico and, as a result, request compensation for the damages caused due to the loss of their investment.