The outcome of the arbitration in Washington has brought back the smile and scattered the concerns of the authorities in Bucharest, the success being ensured, to a great extent, by the teams of lawyers, along which legal experts, accounting experts and experts in the steel industry have worked in a file comprising tens of thousands of pages.
Romania has won at the International Court of Arbitration in Washington, the case brought by the American company Noble Ventures that contested the Romanian state actions in the privatization process of Resita Steel Plant (CSR).
The Arbitrary Court of International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has dismissed in totality the action and compensation claims formulated by the American company Noble Ventures Inc.
In the sentence pronounced on October 12th 2005, the Court decided in unanimity that Romania had not infringed the obligations deriving from the Bilateral Treaty on investment protection between Romania and USA and it is not responsible for the failure of the Noble Ventures investment in Resita Steel Plant (CSR).
On the contrary, the decision pronounced by the court stipulates the infringement of some obligations assumed by the investor through the shares’ sale and purchase contract. The Court has noticed that that the Romanian state’s actions have observed the treaty provisions regarding the obligation to assure the investment protection and security as well as the obligation to use a correct and fair treatment towards the investor.
The team of lawyers that successfully represented the Romanian State before ICSID includes Florentin Ţuca (Managing Partner with Ţuca & Asociaţii), Cornel Popa (Partner with Ţuca & Asociaţii), Cristina Metea (Senior Associate with Ţuca & Asociaţii), Levana Zigmund (Senior Associate with Ţuca & Asociaţii).
“It is a very important success for the Romanian State. We have been waiting the decision of the arbitration court in Washington with optimism and emotion at the same time. We haven’t lost hope that ICSID decision would be favorable to the Romanian side and, indeed, our efforts, as lawyers defending the Romanian State interests materialized in a huge success. Of course, we can be but happy about this result; however, it is desirable that in the future, the State authorities make higher diligences in order to prevent similar law suits which may result in significant losses”, said Florentin Ţuca, the coordinator of the Romanian team of lawyers in Resita file and currently the Managing Partner of Ţuca & Asociaţii.
First, the Americans required damages worth USD 200 millions. Later, their claims escalated to USD 447 millions and then stopped at to USD 353 millions. "This amount would have represented the aggregated amount of profits which were to be realized within an unspecified period pursuant to the investment made by Noble Ventures", says Cornel Popa, Partner with Ţuca & Asociaţii, who worked in this file. The defense strategy was unfolded in Washington by a team made of more than 15 Romanian and American lawyers, who used about 30 witnesses from among the Romanian authorities, four Romanian legal experts and one English legal expert, a British company expert in the steel industry and an American company specialized in accounting expertise, says Cornel Popa. “We have been better prepared. The Canadian law firm, a small one, although specialized in this kind of litigations, brought almost all its lawyers to the court but only one has actually took part in the hearings. He was actually outnumbered by our lawyers” adds Popa.
Ţuca & Asociaţii is one of the major players that entered the Romanian legal market. The eight partners are among the “veterans” of Romanian legal consultancy, as they have been active on this market since its emergence. Ţuca & Asociaţii team numbers over 40 lawyers and it has a very strong litigation department, specialized in complex litigation and international arbitration files. Clients` portfolio includes Deutsche Bank, CEZ, Monte dei Paschi di Sienna, Mittal Steel, Zentiva, Texaco, Enel SpA, Vinci Construction Grand Projets, Orkla Foods, Castrol, Kaufland and many more.