EIGHT YEARS SINCE KAZAKHSTAN ORDERED TO PAY TRISTANGATE AWARD
Investors still await compensation as Kazakhstan continues to evade its international treaty obligations
Eight years ago, on 19 December 2013, a Swedish arbitration tribunal found that the Republic of Kazakhstan had violated its obligations under the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) and awarded Tristan Oil’s owners damages of approximately US$ 500 million.
The Swedish arbitration tribunal ruled that “it is indisputable that Kazakhstan directly expropriated investments” and that the authorities had conducted “a string of measures of coordinated harassment”. The tribunal noted that these measures included false accusations of illegal conduct, fabricated criminal prosecutions, unwarranted tax assessments, and criminal penalties.
Eight years later, Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Justice is still obstructing payment of this final, binding and non-appealable Award. In June 2020, the Ministry took its campaign of resistance to the US courts. It filed a civil complaint in New York against a significant bondholder in Tristan Oil, Argentem Creek, and its CEO, alleging that they were part of a conspiracy to defraud Kazakhstan.
The Tristangate Award has been recognized in multiple jurisdictions, including the US, Sweden, Luxembourg, Italy, France, and the Netherlands. Kazakhstan’s refusal to honor the Award has led to the freezing of Kazakhstani assets worth a total of US$5.8 billion worldwide.
The bondholder group, including Argentem Creek, is due to receive 70% of the award proceeds under a sharing agreement with the claimants. The total value of the award, including all accrued interest and costs, stands at approximately US$ 544 million as of December 2021.
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