Al Habtoor | 10 January 2024
Al Habtoor group issues a notice of an investment dispute against Lebanon
Emirati conglomerate Al Habtoor Group served a notice of an Investment Treaty Dispute against the Lebanese Republic in connection with Lebanon’s breaches of the Bilateral Investment Treaty between the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.
The dispute is related to the Al Habtoor Group’s investments in Lebanon. Al Habtoor Group has invested in the Lebanese Republic close to USD 1 billion to date. Among which, the Group placed funds within the Lebanese banking system, and invested in luxury hotels branded under Hilton Hotels & Resorts, a shopping mall, a 100,000 sqm entertainment & leisure destination named Habtoor Land and other real estate investments across the country.
Under the UAE-Lebanon Treaty that entered into force in 1999, Lebanon undertook to protect Emirati investments in its territory.
Lebanon has breached its obligations under the Treaty towards Al Habtoor Group. In particular, Lebanon and its Central Bank have imposed restrictions preventing Al Habtoor Group from freely transferring its funds amounting to over USD 44 million from the Lebanese banks. Lebanon has also failed to secure a safe and sound environment for Al Habtoor Group’s businesses and investments. As a result of Lebanon’s actions, Al Habtoor Group has incurred and continues to incur significant losses and damages.
Al Habtoor Group, represented by the international law firm White & Case LLP, intends to pursue its rights vigorously, locally and internationally.
By sending a formal notice of the dispute to the Lebanese various Government bodies in early January 2024, Al Habtoor Group triggered the six-month cooling-off period under the UAE-Lebanon Treaty. If the dispute is not resolved within six months and the Al Habtoor Group claims are not settled, it will be open to Al Habtoor Group to commence appropriate local and international legal proceedings against the Lebanese Republic in accordance with the Treaty.