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November 27, 2020
BUSINESS

European Drinks owners win lawsuit against state in Washington

* Public Finance Ministry files appeal against enforcement within national courts.

Brothers Ioan and Viorel Micula (photo), the owners of European Drinks, have won their lawsuit against the Romanian state at the Court of Arbitration in Washington and have to be paid approximately RON 376 M plus penalties. On the other hand, according to the Finance Ministry the Micula brothers’ companies owe money to the state and the sum could be covered with the debt the company owes to the state.

The lawsuit was filed in 2005 at the World Bank Group’s International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the highest court for economic litigations, and concerned the Romanian authorities’ decision to eliminate some fiscal facilities offered to the European Drinks Group for investments in less developed areas.

This is the first lawsuit that the Romanian state loses at ICSID.

In recent year Viorel Micula was represented by Shearman & Sterlin (London and Paris) and by the Dragne & Associates local law firm, the other claimants being represented by King & Spalding (London, Washington and Houston).

Romania was represented by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (the offices from New York, Frankfurt and Paris) and the Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen (NNDKP) local law firm.

The Ioan and Viorel Micula brothers, the main shareholders of European Drinks and holders of Swedish citizenship too, claimed at the date the lawsuit started, in 2005, that the Romanian state failed to respect its commitments concerning the mutual protection of investments included in the bilateral agreement between Sweden and Romania.

The Public Finance Ministry has filed an appeal against enforcement in national courts against this case in which the legal executor drafted a report on sequestering the Petrom shares owned by the state.

“The Public Finance Ministry has filed within national courts an appeal against enforcement in what concerns this act of forced execution and all the acts of forced execution made within the same case. Likewise, after receiving the previously mentioned report on sequestration, the Public Finance Ministry has informed the Financial Supervisory Authority and the Department of Energy,” a Finance Ministry communiqué reads.

MFP also pointed out that the ICSID litigations between Romania and Multipack, Starmill and European Food companies, as well as the one between Romania and physical persons Ioan Micula and Viorel Micula, are not over, Romania asking for the cancellation of the arbitration decision issued on 11 December 2013.

 

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