Pressure Grows on Kazakhstan to Settle With Stati

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Pressure is growing on Kazakhstan to pay $540 million-plus in damages to Moldovan tycoon Anatole Stati, after a Dutch appeals court ruled that it would recognize an arbitration ruling made in Sweden against the republic in 2013 for expropriating Stati’s oil production assets (NC Jul.9'20). The ruling by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal means that Kazakhstan’s 8.44% stake in the giant Kashagan oil project, held by sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna as a 50% stake in the Dutch-registered entity KMG Kashagan, will remain frozen. While the freezing of the stake, which dates back to September 2017, has had no tangible effect on the Kashagan project, it means that the government cannot sell or receive any dividends arising from its equity. The shareholding is valued at around $5.2 billion, almost 10 times the value of the arbitration award. Stati described the ruling as a “total and resounding victory,” and said he and his partners would continue their quest to get their money back. In what has become a marathon legal saga covering multiple jurisdictions, Stati’s lawyers have managed to attach Kazakh government assets in Sweden and Italy, having received injunctions in their favor in the courts. Kazakhstan insists that it will not pay the money and has refused to recognize the original award, on the grounds that Stati was involved in widespread fraud -- a claim he denies.

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