MIAMI -- Venezuela, whose departure from the World Bank's International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) became official on Wednesday, July 25 -- six months after it formally submitted its formal denunciation -- had one final flurry of cases filed against it by the deadline.
Valle Verde Sociedad Financiera SL, a Spanish company represented by international law firm DLA Piper out of their Miami office, had its request for arbitration registered Wednesday. Valle Verde listed "subject matter" as "banking enterprise." The corporate registration of Valle Verdes in Madrid quotes its purpose as "the acquisition, possession, management, sale, enjoyment and administration of securities."
The suit is thought to be related to the closure of savings and loan Casa Propia Entidad de Ahorro by the Venezuelan government.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced in January that his Latin American country would be leaving ICSID and formal papers to make that a legal reality were filed by the Venezuelan government on January 24.
"ICSID has ruled 232 times in favor of transnational interests in the 234 cases heard throughout its history," Chavez said at the time.
However, according to ICSID historical statistics up to the end of last month, only 48% of cases upheld "claims in full or in part."
Including Valle Verde, there are now 22 cases listed as pending against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on the ICSID docket. Claimants include Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Europe, Gambrinus, Corp. (Polar), Hortensia Margarita Shortt, Tenaris S.A. and Talta - Trading e Marketing Sociedade Unipessoal LDA, OI European Group B.V., Koch Minerals SÓrl and Koch Nitrogen International SÓrl, The Williams Companies, International Holdings B.V., WilPro Energy Services (El Furrial) Limited and WilPro Energy Services (Pigap II) Limited, Crystallex International Corporation, Longreef Investments A.V.V., Nova Scotia Power Incorporated, Highbury International AVV and Ramstein Trading Inc., Flughafen ZŘrich A.G. and Gestiˇn e IngenerÝa IDC S.A. , Opic Karimun Corporation, Universal Compression International Holdings, S.L.U., Tidewater Inc. and others, Gold Reserve Inc., Holcim Limited, Holderfin B.V. and Caricement B.V., ConocoPhillips and others, Mobil Corporation and others, Vestey Group Ltd, and Vannessa Ventures Ltd.
Canadian-Russian miner Rusoro, which announced last week that it, too, had filed for arbitration, does not yet appear on the docket, and if accepted, would bring the number of claims pending against Venezuela to 23.
In addition, law firm DLA Piper, which filed the Valle Verde case, says that it has filed claims from two other companies that do not show up on the ICSID docket yet: Barbados' Blue Bank International & Trust Ltd, which owned a cable car system and two hotels that were nationalized by the government, and Transban Investment Corp., which owns BMW and Mini Cooper dealerships in Venezuela.
There are currently 148 States that are members of ICSID. In withdrawing, Venezuela joins fellow Latin American nations Ecuador and Bolivia in leaving ICSID jurisdiction in the past decade. Meanwhile, fellow ALBA member Argentina -- which remains the leader in ICSID suits filed against it with 43 cases since 2001 -- has not left. Contradicting Chavez's mathematics, Argentina has won 6 of the 10 suits resolved so far. With this week's last minute filings, however, Venezuela may now pass Argentina in current cases. Argentina now has only 23 cases currently pending against it. Venezuela will now have 25.Here are copies of the latest 3 Requests for Arbitration before ICSID:
Valle Verde Sociedad Financiera S.a. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
Blue Bank International and Trust v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
Transban Investments Corp. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela