U.S. judge confirms Owens-Illinois arbitration award against Venezuela
Owens-Illinois plant Los Guayos, Valencia, Venezuela.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel / Reuters
Petroleumworld 05 22 2019
A U.S. judge on Tuesday confirmed a roughly $500 million arbitration award that a unit of Owens-Illinois Inc obtained against Venezuela in connection with the country's seizure and nationalization of two plants in 2010.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C. said federal law required her to confirm the 2015 award in favor of Owens-Illinois European Group BV from the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.
She rejected a request by the government of Juan Guaido, whom the United States has recognized as Venezuela's interim president, to delay the proceedings by 120 days so it could conduct an “orderly transition to democracy,” saying a delay would not change the case's outcome.
The award includes $372.5 million of principal, plus interest from October 2010 as well as expenses. Jackson rejected Owens-Illinois' means to calculate post-judgment interest, accepting a lower rate proposed by Guaido's government.
It is unclear how Owens-Illinois, which makes glass containers, might enforce the award against cash-strapped Venezuela, which has suffered from political turmoil and economic recession.
Venezuela's Information Ministry and U.S.-based lawyers for the country did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A lawyer for Owens-Illinois did not immediately respond to similar requests.
Most Western countries have recognized Guaido as Venezuela's rightful head of state, after President Nicolas Maduro won re-election last year in a vote widely viewed as fraudulent.
The case is OI European Group BV v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, No. 16-015333.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis from Reuters.
Reuters.com 05 21 2019