London Court Awards Belize Bank $82 million

There’s an old truism of sports, betting and life which says, “You win some you lose some” – and government is getting a taste of the downside of that karmic equation this evening after an adverse ruling from the London Court of International Arbitration, which is known as the “LCIA.”

Viewers will recall that earlier in the week we told you about a resoundingly favorable judgment from that same court for government which dismissed claims made by the Belize Bank against the Government of Belize. It found that the 2008 agreement between the Musa administration and the Belize Bank, to divert the 10 million US dollars in Venezuelan Grant Funds in settlement of the Universal Debt was contrary to the Finance Act.

Well now the pendulum has swung back and Lord Ashcroft’s Belize Bank and its parent company BCB Holdings are the one who should be celebrating a significant arbitral award against government. In fact, it’s more than significant; it’s the biggest one yet. A release from those companies reports that the tribunal has awarded them 22 million US dollars plus damages and costs. The LCIA found that the Barrow administration breached a 2006 contract which allowed those companies to with-hold certain tax payments in settlement of another dispute. We were unable to get Government’s position on the award.

But whatever the case, these are the damages that Ashcroft-affiliated entities have gotten awarded against government: first in March of this year, there was the BTL award for 19 million US dollars and now there’s this one for US$22 million. That’s a combined $82 million Belize that those companies say Government owes them.

The companies’ release says that they have filed proceedings in the Supreme Court for enforcement of these debts. With its usual tone of menace and impending doom, the release notes that “investors, potential investors and sovereign debt holders should follow this with great interest.”

Live and let live