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

ANGOLA

English Commercial Court lifts freezing order against Angolan sovereign wealth fund

The Commercial Court in London has recently lifted a US$3 billion worldwide freezing order obtained by Angola’s sovereign wealth fund in support of claims of a dishonest conspiracy involving the son of the former president. According to the recent court decision, the Commercial Court in London ruled that many of the claims should be arbitrated in Angola, Portugal or Mauritius, not litigated before the courts in England.

EGYPT

Egyptian award attacked by Chevron before US court

US giant Chevron has asked a US court to throw out a petition to enforce a US$18 billion award that it alleges was issued by a sham arbitral institution in Cairo in favour of Saudi and Egyptian claimants.Chevron Corp. slammed a California federal lawsuit filed by two Saudi families who aim to confirm an US$18 billion arbitration award against the company, calling the arbitration a "sham" and citing a criminal investigation into the Egyptian arbitration center as one reason the judge should toss the case.

MOROCCO

Morocco threatened with US$75 million treaty claim by U.S. landfill investors

Two U.S. environmental services companies (Edgeboro International and Global Environmental Sustainability Inc) have recently confirmed their notice of intent to bring a US$75 million treaty claim against Morocco over the termination of a contract to manage a landfill in Casablanca. The claims against Morocco arise under the 2004 US-Morocco free trade agreement and the 1985 US-Morocco bilateral investment treaty. They allege that the area in question was exempt from tax under the terms of the agreement, and Casablanca city failed to satisfy its obligation to provide a suitable new landfill site and forced them to accept contract amendments that extended the transition period to 10 years.

Morocco hit by yet another ISCUD claim on bankrupt refinery

On 22 August 2018 ICSID registered a a US$400 million claim brought by US private equity group Carlyle, following the bankruptcy of the state’s sole oil refinery in the wake of the 2015 crash in global oil prices. The move comes after the private equity group had filed a notice of dispute in May 2018 seeking to recover profits lost when the refinery, known as SAMIR, went bankrupt.Carlyle accuses Morocco of violating the terms of a free trade agreement it concluded with the US in 2004 and says that its investments were directly impaired by allegedly wrongful actions undertaken by the Moroccan government.

Tanzania

Tanzania faces treaty claim by Italian farm investors

An UNCITRAL tribunal has been appointment to hear a US$30 million investment treaty claim against Tanzania brought by Italian-owned companies over the alleged expropriation of a farm.This claim follows a series of expropriations the Government has begun unilaterally expropriating farms against which land claims have been lodged and where price negotiations with owners have stalled.