SVEA COURT OF APPEAL RULES THAT CLAIMANTS OF TRISTAN AWARD CAN COLLECT $75 MILLION HELD BY KAZAKHSTAN IN SWEDEN
The Svea Court of Appeal in Sweden ruled today that approximately $75m of cash held in a Swedish bank on behalf of the National Bank of Kazakhstan belongs to the Republic of Kazakhstan and may be collected by the owners of Tristan Oil.
Kazakhstan has refused to pay approximately $500 million plus costs and interest awarded to Tristan Oil’s owners in December 2013 by a Swedish arbitral tribunal as compensation for the harassment campaign and illegal expropriation of assets by Kazakhstan’s authorities between 2008 and 2010.
Kazakhstan and the National Bank had asked the Svea Court of Appeal to set aside the attachments, arguing that the attached assets did not belong to the Republic of Kazakhstan and were located in England not Sweden.
After evidence was presented to the court contradicting Kazakhstan’s claims, the Swedish court concluded that the properties belong to Kazakhstan, are located in Sweden, and fall under Swedish law relating to the enforcement of arbitration awards.
The court also ordered Kazakhstan and the National Bank to pay legal costs of $1.5m incurred by the claimants.
Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Justice has repeatedly lost appeals against the Tristan Oil award in the Swedish courts. In 2016, the SVEA Court of Appeal upheld the award. In October 2017 and May 2020, the Swedish Supreme Court rejected the Ministry’s further appeals and upheld the award in full.
The Award has been recognized in multiple jurisdictions, including the U.S., Luxembourg, Italy and France. A group of bondholders, including Argentem Creek Partners, is due to receive 70% of the award proceeds under a sharing agreement with the claimants.
Commenting, Dan Chapman, CEO of Argentem Creek Partners, said:
“We are pleased that the Swedish courts have once again rejected Kazakhstan’s bogus arguments and demonstrated that Sweden is a rule of law jurisdiction where the obstructionist tactics of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Justice do not work. This decision opens the way for the investors in Tristan Oil to defy ‘Old’ Kazakhstan’s kleptocrats and finally start collecting the award.”