International court unfreezes PIA’s assets including Roosevelt Hotel in Reko Diq case

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A court in the British Virgin Island has announced a verdict in favour of Pakistan in a case related to Reko-Diq, district of Balochistan famous for its mineral wealth, including gold and copper, it emerged on Tuesday.

Following the historic legal victory, Pakistan International Airlines has again received ownership of its hotels located in the US and France and other properties.

The BVI high court had through an ex parte order on Dec 16, 2020 attached the assets belonging to Pakistan International Airlines Investment Limited (PIAIL), including the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhatten, New York, and Scribe Hotel in Central Paris, besides freezing 40 per cent interest of PIA in a third entity, Minhal Incorporated.

The court had issued the order after Tethyan Cooper Company (TCC) approached it for enforcement of the $5.97 billion award against Pakistan by the Interna­tional Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Reko Diq litigation on July 12, 2019.

The information about the attachment proceedings and the order of the BVI high court was communicated to Pakistan on Dec 23, 2020.

The ICSID tribunal had taken up the dispute between Pakistan and TCC, which had claimed $8.5bn as compensation after Balochsitan’s mining authority revoked latter’s application for for the multimillion dollar mining lease in the province in 2011.

Earlier, Pakistan had argued before the World Bank’s ICSID that the agreement/mining licence at Reko Dig was won through illegal means, causing damages to the country.

As per the latest orders, the TCC will pay litigation cost to Pakistan while the international firm has been given right to file an appeal against the verdict.