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Caribbean Investment Reviewing Strategy In Belize Government Case

Wed, 22nd Feb 2017 15:24


LONDON (Alliance News) - Caribbean Investment Holdings Ltd on Wednesday said it is reviewing its strategy in regards to a long fought legal battle with the Belize government after recent legislative action taken in the country that it believes is "designed to intimidate" the company.

The case relates back a settlement deed entered into by the company and the government of Belize in 2005, which was subsequently amended in 2006. This deed settled a dispute over the purchase and sale of shares in a Belizean company.

Caribbean Investment said that in consideration for the termination of a pending arbitration, the government of Belize had promised, among other things, that the company would receive "certain tax treatment" in Belize and be indemnified for any breach of the Belize government's warranties.

In July 2014 the company commenced proceedings in Washington DC to enforce a London Court of International Arbitration award for damages to Caribbean Investment for the breach of the settlement deed by the government of Belize.

The US court granted enforcement of the award and rejected the government of Belize's challenges. It issued a judgement for around USD27.5 million, including interest, against the government of Belize.

The Belize government appealed that decision in the US Court of Appeals for DC Circuit, and then sought a review by the US Supreme Court. However, the US Supreme Court denied the government of Belize's petition, rendering the ruling in favour of Caribbean Investment final.

Last month the company filed a motion in the US Court for the District of Columbia seeking enforcement of the judgement.

A week later the government of Belize enacted legislation which Caribbean Investment said was "designed to criminalize the pursuit of legal action in foreign courts including the enforcement of certain foreign judgements" against the Belize government.

Caribbean Investment said the "specific target" of this legislation was the US District Court judgement in its favour.

Further, at the beginning of this month the Attorney General of Belize obtained an injunction from the Supreme Court of Belize restraining Caribbean Investment from enforcing the award and US District Court judgement.

The company fought back, filing a claim in Belize to challenge the constitutionality of acts passed by the Belize National Assembly. Then, a few days later, it filed an application in the Belize Supreme Court seeking to discharge the injunction and to strike out the underlying claim. The hearing of this application is scheduled for next Monday.

Caribbean Investment's board said it believes that the "the serious and aggressive legislative measures enacted in Belize and the injunction obtained by government of Belize are clearly designed to intimidate the company and to prevent the enforcement by the company of this legitimate and legally binding judgement."

It is reviewing its strategy going forward based on these recent events and advice, it said.

Shares in Caribbean Investment were down 1.1% at 15.82 pence Wednesday afternoon.

By Hana Stewart-Smith; hanassmith@alliancenews.com; @HanaSSAllNews

Copyright 2017 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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