Bechtel Wins Court Order to Seize Indian Assets
Judge Kaplan's order followed a decision handed down April 27 by the International Court of Arbitration in Paris, which ruled that the Maharashtra company and the Government of Maharashtra conspired to block DPC from exercising its contractual rights to arbitrate its claims against the state of Maharashtra and government of India for the expropriation of DPC's investment. The arbitration panel gave Maharashtra until May 27 to pay the awarded damages.
"We are disappointed that Indian authorities have given us no choice but to begin proceedings to seize their assets," said Bechtel Executive Vice President and Director Tim Statton. "Their refusal to acknowledge valid legal orders also sends a very troubling message to foreign investors whose capital and technical expertise could help modernize India's infrastructure. Nevertheless, we stand ready to help restart the much-needed Dabhol facility, once India upholds our legal rights and abides by its international obligations."
In 2003, another independent tribunal in the United States ruled unanimously in Bechtel's favor, finding that its interests in DPC were illegally taken and ordering the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a U.S. government agency, to pay US$28.6 million in political risk insurance claims to Bechtel affiliates. OPIC has paid the award, with interest.
Bechtel affiliates in Mauritius and the Netherlands have filed two additional arbitration claims against the Government of India to recover the value of their lost investments in DPC, which could total more than US$6 billion. The Mauritius arbitration proceeding is scheduled to be heard by an independent tribunal in London in July 2005, while the Netherlands proceeding is expected to be heard in mid-2006.
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