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Tribunal rebuffs $4b US firm suit

Update: January, 23/2014 - 10:04
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HANOI  (VNS) — Central Binh Thuan Province has won a US$3.75 billion lawsuit against the US-based South Fork Development Ltd Company. A representative of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) yesterday confirmed the victory to Biz Hub.

He said that it is the first time that Viet Nam has won an investment lawsuit at an international arbitration tribunal.

According to Binh Thuan media, South Fork Development was granted an investment license for a tourism project covering an area of 600ha located in the Hoa Thang Commune, Bac Binh District, Binh Thuan Province, in 2004 .

During the first phase of the project until 2009, the Binh Thuan People's Committee handed over more than 330ha of land to the firm. However, the company had still not made the required investment for the project.

At the time, the People's Committee warned the company that if it did not make the required investment in three months, its investment license for the project would be revoked.

Even by mid-2010, the construction work on the project had still not begun.

According to Binh Thuan media, the Provincial People's Committee had also licensed the Duong Lam Joint Stock Company to extract titanium from 120ha of the 600ha project following an agreement between South Fork and Duong Lam in 2007.

However, in 2011, the US firm stopped work on its project and sued the Provincial People's Committee with the help of a US law firm, Dardenne & Boyd, for illegally allocating the project's land to the Duong Lam Company and demanded compensation of $3.75 billion.

In late 2013, the international arbitration tribunal overruled South Fork's lawsuit and directed the US firm to pay the court fees, including arbitration fees, and other expenses to the Vietnamese side.

The MoJ's representative told Biz Hub that the victory was important because it showed respect for the investment climate in Viet Nam. — VNS

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