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).

Photo: Maalokki / CC BY 2.0

(March 2020)

Mint | 19-Feb-2021
The move signals the government’s resolve to defend its sovereign rights in taxation. The government has kept open possibility of settling the dispute within existing Indian laws.
Mint | 17-Feb-2021
Cairn Energy has filed a case in a US district court to enforce a $1.2 billion arbitration award it won in a tax dispute against India, a court document showed, ratcheting up pressure on the government to pay its dues.
Reuters | 3-Feb-2021
Six banks have agreed not to take legal action against Croatia over its conversion of Swiss franc loans into euros in 2015 at the lenders’ expense.
Business Today | 1-Feb-2021
For a government struggling to find revenue to boost a COVID-19 battered economy, options of appeal against the arbitration award are limited and it may not have the financial bandwidth for such a payout.
The Hindu | 27-Jan-2021
UK-based Cairn Energy Plc has threatened that it may be forced to begin attaching Indian assets including bank accounts in different world capitals, unless the government resolves the issue.
Live Mint | 25-Jan-2021
Investors have written to the Indian government as well as the governments of the US and UK seeking adherence to the award of a tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague
Finance Uncovered | 21-Jan-2021
The battle between ConocoPhillips and Vietnam result could mark a significant shift in the way huge multinationals fight off the threat of taxes from desperate revenue authorities in developing countries.
El Economista | 19-Jan-2021
El banco informó al ejecutivo, fiscalía y corte suprema que de no obtener respuesta a una solicitud de Amparo en el caso que perdió ante José Salaverría, iniciará un proceso contra el país.
Pulse | 1-Dec-2020
The South Korean government has opted for an international arbitration over its longstanding dispute with Lone Star Funds after it turned down the US fund’s final $870-million out-of-court settlement proposal.
Business Korea | 24-Nov-2020
Lone Star Funds, which is in litigation against the South Korean government at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, suggested US$870 million as a concession.

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