Pakistan loses another international legal battle; slapped with $21m penalty

Govt official says will challenge verdict at higher forum

Hasnaat Malik December 26, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has lost another legal battle at the international forum as the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) awarded a penalty of $21 million (Rs2.92 billion) to the country in the infamous Broadsheet LLC case.

Talking to The Express Tribune, a senior government official confirmed that contrary to the claim of billions of rupees, the LCIA has awarded a penalty of $21 million to Pakistan.

“Now, we will challenge the verdict as we are confident that the award of $20 million penalty will be quashed by the higher forum,” he further stated. It is learnt that consultation has been going on with different international legal firms to get their opinion on the fine.

The Broadsheet LLC, based in the Isle of Man, was hired by the National Accountability Bureau during Musharraf’s regime to trace out hidden assets of Pakistanis in foreign countries. NAB signed an agreement with the Broadsheet but terminated it in 2003.

According to the Global Arbitration Review (GAR), the firm’s claim against Pakistan was worth at least $600 million, but a senior official told The Express Tribune that the claim was $340 million.

In July, the international arbitration body based in United Kingdom heard for four days a claim by the Broadsheet LLC against Pakistan and its anti-corruption body- NAB- at the London office of Allen & Overy, said the law firm representing NAB.

Former English Court of Appeal judge Sir Anthony Evans QC heard the case as sole arbitrator in a London-seated proceeding under the rules of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

The Broadsheet’s dispute with NAB has a convoluted and colourful history. The company was established by Colorado businessman Jerry James and entered liquidation proceedings in the Isle of Man in 2005, before being dissolved and then revived.

Meanwhile, James established a Colorado company with the same name and negotiated an agreement with NAB in 2008 that purported to settle the dispute for $2.25 million, which NAB officials paid. He died in 2011, reportedly by jumping from the fifth-floor balcony of a Paris hotel.

In August 2016, the international tribunal judge Sir Anthony Evans upheld the Broadsheet’s arguments that the 2008 settlement was not binding on it, as James had no authority to act on the company’s behalf at the time.

The same international tribunal held that Pakistan is liable to pay damages as NAB wrongfully repudiated an asset recovery agreement with the Broadsheet and committed a tort of civil conspiracy by entering into a sham settlement with a former Broadsheet executive.

The tribunal ruled that the Broadsheet was entitled to damages in an amount to be determined. The Broadsheet was represented by Stuart Newberger of Crowell & Moring in Washington, DC.

Later, the quantum stage was started wherein the Broadsheet relied on information gathered by a joint investigation team (JIT) established by the Supreme Court of Pakistan to examine evidence concerning the Sharif family’s holdings.

The Broadsheet submitted a forensic report by expert firm, Stroz Friedberg, analysing those parts of the JIT report that were public, while Pakistan had submitted a counter-report prepared by the FTI Consulting.

The claimant also petitioned the Supreme Court to unseal volume 10 of the JIT report that could potentially serve as a basis for further damages claims. The apex court scheduled a hearing on that plea on July 30.

The PTI-led government was already facing major legal battles in world legal forums, paying billions of dollars in damages in several controversial matters, especially in Broadsheet, Karkey and Reko Diq cases.

Law ministry proposes ‘spot check’ by judges

Currently, Pakistan is facing more than three dozen cases of different nature at international courts. Even some independent power producers (IPPs) also filed cases with international arbitrators, seeking clearance of their pending dues, which amount to more than a trillion rupees.

However, legal experts are wondering that though Prime Minister Imran Khan is constituting task forces on different issues he has yet to pay attention to evolve a strategy to deal with the cases which are being contested at different international forums wherein proceedings have already been initiated against Pakistan to recover billions of rupees as claimed by several companies in different matters.

On August 22, 2017, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) awarded $846 million in damages to Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim AS, a Turkish power company.

According to the ICSID award, Pakistan will not only pay damages amounting to more than $800 million, but is also bound to pay $5.6 million (Rs590 million) per month as interest to Karkey.

In the Reko Diq case, the verdict is likely to be announced next year. The quantum stage has ended. Pakistan is likely to face billions of rupees award in this case as well.


rama | 5 years ago | Reply Pakistan files international cases for local consumption and failing
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