GIBRALTAR COURT DISMISSES TNG BANKRUPTCY CLAIM IN JURISDICTIONAL RULING
The Gibraltar Supreme Court today dismissed the claim brought by the bankruptcy manager of Tolkynneftegaz LLP (TNG) against the Stati Parties. This represents the latest failed attempt by the Republic of Kazakhstan to obstruct payment of the Tristan Oil arbitration Award. The case was dismissed on the basis that it was abusive to use another country’s legal system to enforce one’s own tax regime. The court further found that Gibraltar was not the appropriate forum for this claim.
Since 2013, 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 in compensation for the harassment campaign and illegal expropriation of assets by Kazakhstan’s authorities between 2008 and 2010.
In July 2020, Kazakhstan induced TNG’s bankruptcy manager to file a further claim in Gibraltar against the Stati Parties in a renewed attempt to attack the Award. In this claim, Kazakhstan again alleged conspiracy, fraud, and deceit – allegations which had already been dismissed by multiple international courts.
Kazakhstan has previously made allegations of fraud in Sweden in a failed attempt to overturn the Award. These have been resoundingly rejected by the Swedish courts. The Award has now been fully and finally recognized in the U.S. and Italy. The Svea Court of Appeals in Sweden recently ruled in January 2023 that $75 million frozen in Sweden and belonging to Kazakhstan is collectible by claimants of the Tristan Oil Award, and that Kazakhstan and its National bank must pay legal costs of $1.5 million incurred by investors. A group of bondholders, including Argentem Creek Partners, is due to receive about 70% of the Award proceeds under a sharing agreement with the claimants.
Commenting, Dan Chapman, CEO of Argentem Creek Partners, said:
“Gibraltar has joined the growing list of jurisdictions across the world that are refusing to succumb to the obstructionist legal campaign conducted by representatives of Kazakhstan’s kleptocratic old guard for nearly a decade. As long-standing investors in the region, we commend President Tokayev’s ambitions for a ‘New Kazakhstan’ and urge his administration to demonstrate their commitment to the rule of law by honoring international treaty obligations and paying the Tristan Award.”