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Bechtel Wins Court Order to Seize Indian Assets

  • 31 May 2005
    San Francisco, CA
  • Asia Pacific, Press Release

Bechtel Wins Court Order to Seize Indian Assets

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, sitting in the Southern District of New York, signed the order directing the attachment of assets held by Maharashtra Power Development Corporation Ltd., which holds a 14.16 percent share in Dabhol Power Corp. General Electric and Bechtel hold a majority interest in DPC, which was forced to shut down in 2001 when the state of Maharashtra reneged on its legal commitments to purchase power and support completion of the second of two generating units.
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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Bechtel is a trusted engineering, construction and project management partner to industry and government. Differentiated by the quality of our people and our relentless drive to deliver the most successful outcomes, we align our capabilities to our customers’ objectives to create a lasting positive impact. Since 1898, we have helped customers complete more than 25,000 projects in 160 countries on all seven continents that have created jobs, grown economies, improved the resiliency of the world's infrastructure, increased access to energy, resources, and vital services, and made the world a safer, cleaner place.  

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