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Reko Diq case: British Virgin Islands court unfreezes PIA assets

The $6b award against Pakistan still stands

SAMAA | - Posted: May 25, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 months ago
Posted: May 25, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 months ago

Photo: AFP

The British Virgin Islands High Court has ordered unfreezing offshore assets of the Pakistan International Airlines in the Reko Diq case, the office of the Attorney General of Pakistan confirmed Tuesday.

The court has recalled its December 2020 orders to attach certain PIA assets in the Reko Diq case against Pakistan. These assets include PIA’s interests in Roosevelt Hotel in New York and Scribe Hotel in Paris.

“A short while ago, [the] judgment was announced by British Virgin Island High Court. Great legal victory for PIA and Pakistan,” a statement from the Attorney General of Pakistan’s office said Tuesday.

“The order was passed earlier on the request of TCC (Tethyan Copper Company) which was seeking enforcement of the Reko Diq award.

“All orders passed against PIA earlier are now recalled by the Court. Receiver removed from Roosevelt hotel, NY and Scribe hotel, Paris. Cost of litigation also awarded,” it said.

“Justice prevails! By the grace of Allah and with the prayers of all our countrymen, courts in BVI decide in favour of PIA, releasing all hard earned assets i.e., Roosevelt NYC & Scribe Paris,” the PIA said on Twitter.

“Great victory for PIA and Pakistan. We won this together!”

The TCC had sought attachment of assets in November 2020 for the enforcement of the $6 billion award slapped on Pakistan in the Reko Diq case.

In July 2019, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes — a World Bank arbitration court — had ordered Pakistan to pay $6 billion in damages to Tethyan Copper.

Islamabad was ordered to pay the penalty for revoking a mining contract in Reko Diq, Balochistan.

Pakistan still has to pay $6 billion to the TCC despite withdrawal of the attachment orders by the BVI court.

In September 2020, the ICSID had granted Pakistan a stay on the $6 billion penalty in the case.

The company had approached the World Bank arbitration court in 2012 after the Balochistan government declined its lease request.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan had terminated the deal in 2013. The mining company said that it had invested over $220 million in Reko Diq.

But Pakistan had challenged the award in November 2019. Islamabad was granted a provisional stay after it initiated proceedings seeking annulment of the ICSID verdict.

A hearing to confirm the stay order was held through a video link in April 2020, according to the AGP office.

The World Bank arbitration court confirmed the stay on the enforcement of $6 billion fine on September 16, 2020.

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Reko Diq case, British Virgin Islands, PIA, Pakistan, Balochistan, Tethyan Copper Company,

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