Financial stability

Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) is one of the greatest threats to the re-regulation of finance. ISDS empowers the very firms that financial regulation seeks to govern. These firms can bypass host country domestic courts and directly challenge domestic policies in a parallel system of justice.

Financial and non-financial firms have increasingly used ISDS provisions in trade agreements to challenge financial regulations and emergency financial stability measures.

Most well-known cases include:

• Investors vs. Argentina: When the country froze its utility rates and devaluated its currency in response to its 2001-2002 financial crisis, it was hit by over 40 lawsuits from investors, including Suez, Vivendi (France) and Anglian Water (UK). By January 2014, Argentina had been ordered to pay a total of US$980 million (various BITs invoked).

• Poštová Banka (Slovakia) & Istrokapital (Cyprus) vs. Greece: the Slovak bank and its Cypriot investor sued Greece on account of the restructuring of the country’s sovereign debt, after having bought Greek government bonds at a knockdown value. The investors lost the case. (Greece-Slovakia & Cyprus-Greece BITs invoked).

• Saluka (Netherlands) vs. Czech Republic: the Dutch investment corporation filed an ISDS dispute against the Czech government for not bailing out a private bank, in which the company had a stake, in the same way that the government bailed out banks in which the government had a major stake. The bailouts came in response to a widespread bank debt crisis. The investor was awarded US$236 million (Czech Republic-Netherlands BIT invoked).

(March 2020)

Korea Times | 24-Jun-2020
The government is apparently baffled by Lone Star Fund’s attempts to use Korean news outlets as a means of putting itself in a dominant position in its $4.68 billion legal battle against Seoul.
World Commerce Review | 11-Jun-2020
Arbitration cases due to COVID emergency measures would exacerbate the challenges that public budgets are already facing due to the need for stimulus measures and the difficulty in collecting government revenue.
Pulse | 5-Jun-2020
US private equity firm Lone Star Funds suggested it was open to “amicable and sensible” out-of-court option to settle the longstanding dispute with the Korean government.
Basta! | 19-May-2020
Les cabinets juridiques spécialisés dans les conflits entre investisseurs et États étudient d’éventuelles plaintes contre les mesures suspendant les activités économiques, instaurant un moratoire des loyers ou rendant accessible à tous un futur vaccin.
TNI | 19-May-2020
As governments take action to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent economic collapse, they could face multi-million dollar lawsuits.
New Straits Times | 14-Apr-2020
Axiata said the payment was made under protest and will seek remedies including restitution of sums already paid in the international arbitration proceedings.
GAR | 31-Mar-2020
Emergency measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and protect the economy could lead to claims under bilateral investment treaties.
Mining Journal | 4-Mar-2020
Cerro Verde, a partnership between Freeport McMoran and Buenaventura, is to bring a case against Peru related to a taxation dispute at the ICSID under a US-Peru trade agreement.
Infobae | 2-Mar-2020
La minera Cerro Verde, controlada por la estadounidense Freeport-McMoRan, inició un procedimiento internacional de arbitraje contra Perú por una disputa sobre el pago de millonarias regalías.
Al Wihda | 22-Feb-2020
Une société de services financiers, basée aux États-Unis, a saisi le CIRDI au sujet d’un différend avec le Cameroun lié à une série de plateformes numériques.

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