Kazakhstan’s Former Embassy Property at Risk Over Tristangate

The Stati Parties petitioned the Washington D.C. federal district court for an emergency attachment of the former residence of the Republic of Kazakhstan’s ambassador in the District of Columbia, arguing that it is now used for commercial rather than diplomatic purposes.

The relief sought is in response to Kazakhstan’s continued refusal to honour the fully adjudicated US$556 Million Tristangate Award that was issued by a Swedish arbitration tribunal in 2013.

The property is presently rented out to a translation school and a remodelling company on a commercial basis, according to a filing by the Stati parties, and therefore no longer protected by sovereign immunity.

The motion asks for an order that the property cannot be sold for the next 180 days and, if the property were to be sold that the proceeds are paid into a designated court escrow account.

In total, US$ 6.27bn of Kazakh state assets have been frozen abroad in relation to Tristangate.

Kazakhstan recently suffered a defeat in a Brussels court, that upheld a $530 million attachment of assets held via Kazakhstan’s National Fund with BNY Mellon in Brussels. Kazakhstan had engaged in a “sham”, the judge ruled, in attempting to claim sovereign immunity over the funds.

The Court also flatly rejected Kazakhstan’s claims that the Swedish arbitration is not valid and enforceable, and cites the Swedish courts consistent affirmance of the award (see pages 14 to 17 of the ruling).

The Swedish tribunal’s award has been recognized in multiple jurisdictions including the U.S., Sweden, Luxembourg, Belgium, Italy, France and the Netherlands.

An on-the-record conference with regards the former embassy building is already scheduled for this Monday, July 26, 2.30pm ET, with Kazakhstan also ordered to file any response no later than August 2.

Read the full motion here.