White & Case wins arbitration award for Iraq Telecom Limited
Exceeding US$1.65 billion, it was granted by the International Chamber of Commerce
Global law firm White & Case has achieved a significant victory for Iraq Telecom Limited (IT Ltd), a joint venture between Agility Public Warehousing Company KSCP and Orange S.A.
The success comes in the form of an award exceeding USD1.65 billion, granted by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in an arbitration against Korek Telecom Company LLC, an Iraqi telecommunications company headquartered in Erbil, and its chair, Saber Sirwan Barzani.
The dispute relates to IT Ltd’s investment of over USD800 million in Korek. In 2020, IT Ltd initiated the ICC arbitration, with its own and derivative claims on behalf of International Holdings Limited (IH Ltd), an affiliate of IT Ltd, which earlier held 100 percent shares of Korek.
The tribunal in its decision concluded that Korek and Barzani were involved in a corrupt scheme to defraud IT Ltd and IH Ltd by bribing Korek’s regulators at Iraqi’s Communications and Media Commission. This deprived IT Ltd and IH Ltd of their shareholding in Korek without any compensation.
The tribunal also observed that the respondents had defrauded IT Ltd and IH Ltd through self-dealing, diversions of corporate assets, sham loans, and other schemes, all of which violated Korek’s Shareholders’ Agreement.
The tribunal awarded IH Ltd US$1.012 billion and IT Ltd US$228.8 million in damages.
It also ordered the respondents to pay the pre-award interest of US$317 million to IH Ltd and US$71.7 million to IT Ltd, apart from approximately US$20 million in legal fees and arbitration costs.
White & Case acted as co-counsel to IT Ltd along with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and Jones Day.
The White & Case team representing IT Ltd was led by partners John Willems and Noor Davies. They were supported by associates James Hart, Viraen Vaswani (both London), Fernando Labombarda, Yasmine El Achkar and Francesca Annicchiarico (Paris).