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Virgin Islands court unfreezes PIA assets in Reko Diq case

The High Court of Justice in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) on Tuesday ruled in favour of Pakistan in a case initiated by Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) for attachment of assets belonging to the Pakistan International Airlines Investment Ltd (PIAIL), including hotels in New York and Paris, as part of its efforts for the enforcement of the Reko Diq award.

“Pakistan has won the BVI case initiated by TCC to enforce the ICSID [International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes] award,” stated the International Disputes Unit (IDU) housed inside the Attorney General Office within the premises of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, adding that all ex-parte orders obtained by the TCC earlier had been set aside.

“All orders passed against PIA earlier are now recalled by the Court. Receiver removed from Roosevelt hotel, NY and Scribe hotel, Paris. Cost of litigation also awarded.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan has appreciated the efforts of the international disputes unit and the office of the AGP.

The TCC had initiated the case for the enforcement of the July 12, 2019, $5.97 billion award against Pakistan by the ICSID in the Reko Diq litigation.

On December 16, 2020, the BVI High Court through an ex-parte order had attached the assets belonging to the Pakistan International Airlines Investment Limited, including the company’s interests in the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan, New York, and Scribe Hotel in central Paris as well as frozen 40 per cent interest of PIA in a third entity, Minhal Incorporated. The BVI court in its Dec 16 order had also appointed the receiver on an interim basis.

Despite the withdrawal of attachment orders by the BVI court, the $6 billion award against Pakistan stands intact.

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