On 4 March 2016, international legal counsel Andrea Saccucci, Associated Tenant at Doughty Street International, along with an international team of lawyers, obtained a remarkable legal victory in the case Hydro Srl, Costruzioni Srl, Francesco Becchetti, Mauro de Renzis, Stefania Grigolon and Liliana Condomitti v Albania (ICSID Case No ARB/15/28).
In a landmark decision, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (“ICSID”) upheld the request for suspension of the criminal and the extradition proceedings against two of the Claimants in the case, Mr Becchetti and Mauro de Renzi. Prior to this decision, no ICSID tribunal has ever been reported to recommend the suspension of extradition proceedings. In addition, the Tribunal also recommended that the parties come to an agreement on the preservation of the Claimants’ assets (which have been seized by Albania) for the duration of the arbitration.
Claimants brought the arbitration for violations of the Albania-Italy Bilateral Investment Treaty (“BIT”) as a result of ongoing attacks and harassment against the Claimants and their investments, which include two television stations and a hydroelectric plant. One Claimant, Hydro Srl, is also concurrently involved in an ICC arbitration arising out of Albania’s breaches of its concession agreement for the hydroelectric plant.
Counsels argued that, by way of retaliation against Claimants’ assertion of their rights to arbitration, Albania launched various tax investigations and criminal proceedings against certain Claimants and their local investments, seized assets located in Albania, issued arrest warrants against two of the individual Claimants and sought to obtain their extradition from the United Kingdom.
Claimants maintain that the local proceedings are meritless and abusive, and look forward to a favorable result on the substance of their claims that Albania violated the BIT.
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