Naguib Sawiris Launches $5 Billion Lawsuit Against Algerian Government
Published on: 19th Nov 2012
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
By: Ian Mansfield
Egypt's Naguib Sawiris is launch of a USD5 billion claim against the Algerian government for damages to Weather Investments' stake in Orascom Telecom Alg rie (Djezzy) after it claimed that repeated harassment cost its Algerian company significant losses.
Weather Investments claims that Algeria has repeatedly breached its international legal obligations to Weather Investments under an investment treaty between Algeria and the Belgo-Luxembourg Economic Union.
Weather Investments Chairman, Naguib Sawiris said: "In 2001 OTH won the competitive bid to build Algeria's telecommunications infrastructure, investing USD3 billion, creating 4,000 jobs and increasing telephone usage by 52% in just seven years. The Algerian Government committed to a number of protections, including a promise to refrain from arbitrary interference in our operations, but has since 2008 pursued a campaign of interference and harassment which has cost Weather Investments over USD5 billion in damages. This is a bad development not just for us, but for all foreign investors in Algeria."
The breaches of the Treaty form part of a campaign of harassment and improper interference by the Algerian Government against Djezzy and its owners, which has culminated most recently in the attempted "forced sale" of all or part of Djezzy to the Algerian State.
Weather Investments says that it notified Algeria of the existence of this dispute more than six months ago and it has attempted to engage the government during the intervening period.
The arbitration has been commenced under the auspices of ICSID, the dispute resolution branch of the World Bank, which is headquartered in Washington DC.