Naguib Sawiris’ Luxembourg-based Weather Investments is suing the Algerian seeking $5 billion in damages to Djezzy, an Algerian mobile phone unit run by Weather Investments.
Sawiris said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal,”The Algerian government committed to a number of protections, including a promise to refrain from arbitrary interference in our operations, but has since 2008 pursued a campaign of interference and harassment which has cost Weather Investments over $5 billion in damages.”
According to the report, the claim has been send to the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, a dispute resolution branch of the World Bank based in Washington. Weather says that Algeria has breached against its international legal obligations signed in an investment treaty between Algeria and the Belgo-Luxembourg Economic Union.
The WSJ adds that, VimpelCom Ltd, the Russian mobile operator bought assets worth $6 billion from Weather, including the algerian Djezzy in 2011 but the Algerian government has blocked VimpelCom from negotiations as it plans to nationalize Djezzy.
According to Weather:”The breaches of the treaty form part of a campaign of harassment and improper interference by the Algerian government against Djezzy and its owners, which has culminated most recently in the attempted forced sale of all or part of Djezzy to the Algerian state.”
This is not the only dispute.
The Algerian government has battled into VimpelCom’s ownership of Djezzy. The government through the Algerian Court of Appeal denied Djezzy its $1.3 billion fine handed to it alleging a breach of foreign-exchange regulations. The government also seems not to stagger on its promise of making life hard for Djezzy.
You can read the whole report here.