BR Exclusive. Four Romanian millionaires, two foreign companies sued Romania at Washington commercial court for over EUR 7 bln

Sorin Melenciuc 14/11/2018 | 07:15

Romania is the subject of six commercial trials at the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington, with the claimants demanding more than EUR 7 billion in damages, according to Finance Ministry data provided at Business Review’s request.

The first request for arbitration (case no. ARB/14/29) was filled by Bihor county-based entrepreneurs loan Micula and Viorel Micula and their companies Scandic Distilleries, West Leasing International, Edri Trading European Drinks, European Food, Starmill, Multipack, Tonical Trading, Rieni Drinks, Transilvania General Import-Export, based on a Swedish-Romanian agreement on investment from 2002.

The claimants claim around EUR 2.3 billion in damages.

The second case involves Canadian-based company Gabriel Resources (case no. ARB/15/31), which claims USD 4.4 billion (value calculated for June 2017) for losing its mining contract in the eastern Transylvanian region of Rosia Montana. The Canadian company has to shut down its investments in Romania after massive protests against exploitation of Rosa Montana gold mine using cyanide. The press wrote at that time that the company belongs to Frank Timis, the Romanian businessman who also has Australian citizenship and was mentioned in the Panama Papers scandal. He used lawyers from Mossack Fonseca to set up an offshore firm in Bahamas back in 1997. Timis is an investor in the mining sector in Africa.

The third case involves the Netherlands-based group Nova Group Investments (case no. ARB/16/19), which claims EUR 330 million from the Romanian government. The company belongs to the Adamescu family, and it is the company through which they controlled Astra Asigurari, the biggest insurance company in Romania, which went bankrupt, and Unirea Shopping City Mall located in the heart of Bucharest.

In the fourth case (no. ARB/18/19), the claimant are LSG Building Solutions GmbH (Austria), Pressburg UK GmbH (Germany), Green Source Consulting GmbH (Austria), Solluce Romania 1 B.V. (the Netherlands), Risen Energy Solar Project GmbH (Germany), Core Value Investments GmbH & Co KG Gamma (Germany), Core Value Capital GmbH (Austria), SC LJG Green Source Energy Beta SRL (Romania), Anina Pro Invest Ltd (Cyprus) and Giust Ltd (Cyprus), which invested in photovoltaic energy in Romania.

Solluce Romania 1 BV is controlled by giant Samsung. LJG Green Source Energy Beta and LSG Building Solutions are involved in the development of the 45 MW solar park from Slobozia, Giurgiu county.

Pressburg and Anina Pro Invest both own the Romanian company Solar Electric Mostistea which operates a 4,5 MW photovoltaic. The lawsuit was started because Romania didn’t follow provisions in the ECT (Energy Charter Treaty), a document signed by our country in 1994.

In 2013, the Romanian government cut the subsidies granted to renewable energy producers in the form of green certificates added to the electricity bills of all Romanian electricity consumers to control the final price paid by customers.

The fifth case (ARB/18/30) involves the companies Bladon Enterprises and Germen Properties based in Cyprus, claiming at least USD 200 million from the Romanian government based on Romanian-Cyprus agreements signed at the beginning of the 1990’s. Both companies are regaled to businessman Puiu Popoviciu, known for his real estate investments in Romania but also for his friendship with former president Traian Basescu. He is accusing the state for not respecting a treaty signed by our country with Cyprus in 1991.

In the sixth case, Italian company FIN.CO.GE.RO. SPA claims EUR 327 million from the Romanian government based on a Romanian-Italian investment agreement signed in 1991. The company signed and agreement in 2000 with Constanta municipality to build a residential complex in the city. The municipality won the trial in Romania and the Italian company had to pay a important amount of money.

During the last 10 years, three cases involving Romania were settled by ICSID: one involving loan and and Viorel Micula brothers (Romania paid EUR 178 million), the second with British group EDF Services Limited (Romania paid USD 6 million) and the last with Kazakhstan-owned energy company Rompetrol –  Romania won the trial in 2013 and has no obligation to the company, according to the Finance Ministry.

 

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