28 February 2017

KWM advises Kyrgyz Republic on successful award overturn

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) represented the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic to successfully overturn the US$16.5 million UNCITRAL award, with the Paris Court of Appeal recently ruling that Manas Bank had been established to facilitate money laundering.

The Government challenged the arbitral award in the French courts, which was made against the Kyrgyz Republic and in favour of Latvian businessman Valeri Belokon, former majority owner of Manas Bank, who claimed compensation for nationalization of the bank in 2010, as well as resisting enforcement of the award in Ontario.

The award overturn judgment comes three years after a Paris-seated tribunal, presided over by Jan Paulsson, held that Kyrgyzstan expropriated Belokon’s stake in Manas Bank after putting it into administration pending an investigation for financial fraud.

The KWM team was led by London Partner Andrei Yakovlev, with support from Associates Wilson Antoon, Dina Suliman and Marco Toracca.

Commenting on the matter, Andrei Yakovlev said; “We are pleased to have supported the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic on this significant matter, which represents one of the most important arbitration decisions of 2017.”

This successful result follows KWM’s landmark victory in September 2014 for the Government, in a regional investment treaty interpretation case at the CIS Economic Court. KWM has also been appointed to advise on all pending investment arbitration claims asserted against the Government, including the defence of a US$450 million claim by the former chairman of AsiaUniversalBank, defence of a US$120 million BIT claim by BTA Bank, challenge of a US$120 million arbitral award made by the Moscow Chamber of Commerce Arbitration and resisting enforcement in Ontario and New York of a US $11 million ICSID Additional Facility award.

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