Gold Reserve Inc. said in a recent press release that it expected to file a response by today to Venezuela’s latest legal effort to forestall payment of a $740.3 million judgment the Spokane-based mining company secured against the South American nation last fall.
Venezuela, which is expected to then file its own response by July 15, is seeking to dismiss Gold Reserve’s court petition to confirm the award.
Gold Reserve said in the release, “The arguments raised by Venezuela are essentially the same as those invoked in its applications to annul the award and the reconfirmation of the award that are pending before the Paris Court of Appeal.”
Alternatively, Gold Reserve said, Venezuela is asking for a stay of enforcement of the award pending the determination of the applications to annul by the Paris Court of Appeal, which is scheduled to hear the case on Nov. 3.
Meanwhile, the company said it also plans to ask the U.S. District Court to set its own hearing date as soon as possible, hoping the court will confirm the award, which would make it enforceable in the U.S. as a court judgment.
The various recent court filings show that the company and the Venezuelan government remain at odds over the award.
“While it is our preference to reach an agreement, the company remains firmly committed to the enforcement and collection of the award, including interest and costs, in full, and will continue to vigorously pursue all available remedies,” Gold Reserve President Doug Belanger says in a written statement posted on the company’s website.
Last September, The Tribunal at the World Bank’s International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) issued the more than $740 million judgement against Venezuela. In 2008, Gold Reserve sued that South American country’s government for $2.3 billion after it seized the company’s primary mining property, called the Brisas Project. The gold and copper project was the company’s primary business for more than 16 years, the company says in court documents.
Court records say Gold Reserve invested $300 million into Brisas from the early 1990s to the time the project was expropriated by the Venezuelan government in May 2008. The company was in the process of clearing the Brisas site when the government revoked its construction permit. Belanger says the company has spent at least $22 million in legal fees alone to argue the case.
“The award, now mounting to approximately $754.7 million, continues to accrue interest at the rate of Libor plus 2 percent per annum,” Belanger said in the press release. Libor is a benchmark rate that many banks charge each other for short-term loans.
Gold Reserve filed a petition last November to confirm the award with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. “On April 15, 2015, after various attempts to avoid service, Venezuela was forced to agree to accept service and further respond to the petition on or before June 12, 2015—which it did—by filing a motion to dismiss our petition,” Gold Reserve said in the press release.
A three-member international tribunal heard the case in accordance with provisions of the Canada-Venezuela Bilateral Investment Treaty. Gold Reserve is incorporated in Canada, but has its executive offices at 926 W. Sprague in downtown Spokane.
“We have already addressed the arguments raised by Venezuela in the context of its applications to annul the award that will be heard by the Paris Court of Appeal on Nov. 3, 2015, therefore, we are confident that they lack merits,” Belanger said on the company’s website.
Subscribe today to our free E-Newsletters!SUBSCRIBE