PARIS--()--Caratube International Oil Company LLP (Caratube), a Kazakh company owned for 92% by US national Mr. Devincci Hourani, has filed on October 2, 2012, a request for the annulment of the Award of June 5, 2012, before ICSID, the World Bank’s arbitration centre. The Award had declined jurisdiction under the US-Kazakhstan Bilateral Investment Treaty over Caratube’s claim of over 1 billion USD against Kazakhstan for the expropriation of Caratube’s rights in relation to the oil fields in the Caratube region of Kazakhstan.
“Heads or tails, the claim will be heard by ICSID and compensation due.”
Irrespective of the outcome of the annulment proceedings, Caratube and/or its majority shareholder Mr. Devincci Hourani will have their claims heard on the merits before ICSID or another international tribunal under the dispute resolution clause in the oil contract, and/or international investment laws and treaties. Similarly, irrespective of the legality of the expropriation, Caratube and Mr. Hourani are entitled to full and effective compensation under law. A notice to this effect has been issued on October 18, 2012, to the President of Kazakhstan. As Dr. Gharavi, attorney to Caratube and Mr. Hourani, put it: “Heads or tails, the claim will be heard by ICSID and compensation due.”
The expropriation of the Hourani family’s assets by Kazakhstan, including Caratube, was done under certain pretexts but was in fact collateral damage of the dispute between the President of Kazakhstan and his then son in law, Mr. Rakhat Aliyev. The Hourani family, related to Mr. Aliyev, was assimilated to Mr. Aliyev. As a result, the Hourani family and its assets, which included an empire consisting of media interests, pharmaceutical, oil and gas ventures, airlines and a poultry business, became one of the targets of the Kazakh government. The family was subject to raids, criminal prosecution, the expropriation without compensation of their assets, and were forced to flee the country. Caratube is only one of the many arbitrations that have been, or that are about to be, initiated by the Hourani family against Kazakhstan for expropriations worth over 2 billion USD.
ICSID Tribunals have already held Kazakhstan liable for such takings, including the Rumeli & Telsim v. Kazakhstan case, where it was ordered to pay 170 million USD with interests for the expropriation of Kar-Tel, at the time the second largest mobile operator in Kazakhstan, owned by Turkish investors.
The Houranis are businessmen with no involvement in Kazakh politics. They are merely seeking justice, i.e. compensation for assets seized and clearance of their names.
For further information, Dr. Gharavi of Derains & Gharavi, attorney of Caratube and the Hourani family in this dispute can be contacted at +33 1 40 55 51 00 / email@example.com.