Home Arbitration Awards Lord Ashcroft Makes Strategic Move against GOB for its Arbitration Award

Lord Ashcroft Makes Strategic Move against GOB for its Arbitration Award

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Ten days ago, we told you that the Ashcroft companies were seeking to have Midway Investments of Turks and Caicos take over the ownership of the twenty seven point four million US dollar arbitration award owing to the BCB Holdings and the Belize Bank Limited by the Government of Belize.  Last Friday, August 18, U.S. District Judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly agreed to have the transfer done which means that Midway Investments can enforce the judgement since they would not be subjected to the jurisdiction of Belize’s courts and therefore any attempt at an injunction or prevention would not apply to them.  Several months ago, the Belize Supreme Court had prohibited BCB Holdings from enforcing the award via a temporary injunction while laws were passed to criminalize efforts made to enforce foreign judgements against Belize.  The injunction was lifted eventually but the law remained.  The Government of Belize had opposed the motion for the transfer earlier this month since the law would not apply to Midway Investments and they, in turn, can seek to have the award paid out albeit via US assets.  An article by LAW360 reported that the U.S. District Judge Kollar-Kotelly ruled that Belize brought arguments that are “meritless and require little discussion” in trying to prevent Midway Investments Ltd. from taking over the litigation for a $27.4 million arbitration award. The judge wrote that Belize had regularly attempted to forestall the resolution of the litigation, particularly by frustrating previous petitioners BCB Holdings Ltd. and Belize Bank Ltd.’s attempts to realize the award.  In Friday’s decision the judge noted in its memorandum opinion that [Belize] apparently does not intend on paying the judgment entered by this court and has taken various actions in Belize aimed at preventing petitioners from enforcing the judgment.  This award stems from the favourable tax treatment that was given to the two Ashcroft companies under the Said Musa administration.  It is anticipated that once collection is done it would be divided among shareholders of Caribbean Investment Holdings formerly BCB Holdings.  It is yet to be ascertained whether the Government will be appealing the judgement or how either party will be moving forward.  Belize’s Attorney General, Michael Peyrefitte is still reviewing the judgement and we will keep you abreast of the matter.

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