Kazakhs Await Key Court Ruling on Stati Case

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On Dec. 18, the Dutch Supreme Court will deliver a final verdict on whether there are legal grounds for the 8.44% stake in the giant Kashagan project held by Kazakh sovereign wealth fund, Samruk-Kazyna, to remain frozen (NC Jul.16'20). The stake in the project, which Samruk holds via its 50% interest KMG Kashagan, a 50-50 joint venture with state oil company Kazmunaigas registered in Amsterdam, has been frozen since September 2017 as part of the long-running legal spat between Kazakhstan and Moldovan oil tycoon, Anatole Stati. Lawyers representing Stati and his associates secured the freezing order from a Dutch court in a bid to force Kazakhstan to pay a $500 million-plus arbitration award that was made against them in late 2013. The Kazakhs were judged to have illegally expropriated Stati’s oil production assets in the republic, in violation of the European Energy Charter that the government signed up to in the early 1990s. Kazakhstan, which has had other overseas assets frozen at the behest of Stati’s lawyers, including monies held by its national oil fund, still refuses to cough up. The Kazakhs contend that the arbitration award should be deemed invalid, as Stati was involved in widespread fraud and failed to live up to his commitments in Kazakhstan. Stati's representatives deny the allegations.

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