The Washington-based International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) ruled in the complaint of Sweden’s Corral, who is demanding compensation from Morocco for speeding up the closure of Samir refineries. The tanker denounces in essence a “rape of many protections” supposed to be part of a bilateral treaty investment, concluded since 1990 between the two countries.
As a result, the majority shareholder of Samir appealed to ICSID requesting $ 1.5 billion, according to media. “This figure had not been mentioned in the notice of arbitration sent in November 2015 to the Moroccan government,” stating that “it was also not included in the petition filed in March 2018 before ICSID. “Corral then reserved the right to specify its claims at advanced stages of the procedure,” adds the same source.
Except that last April 12, the company submitted brief by presenting three reports, a legal, a financial and a relative his oil activity. “It is in the light of these reports that the alleged damage has been assessed” and that the required amount has been defined, says media, who however was unable to consult the documents, litigation procedures being confidential.
In detail, Coral criticizes the Moroccan State for “a failure to impose customs tariffs for imports of refined petroleum products contrary to the legitimate expectations” of the holding company, in addition to a “failure to apply Moroccan legislation prohibiting the dumping of refined petroleum products in Morocco “, flaws “in taking measures necessary to ensure the competitiveness of the Samir “or “the arbitrary and illegal freezing of bank accounts Samir”.
Morocco does not face this single claim, since the Carlyle group has also seized the same entity by demanding 400 million dollars in damages.
A case that may be expensive in Morocco
In March 2016, it was the Commercial Court of Casablanca that pronounced the liquidation of the Samir. In November 2015, the refiner requested an amicable settlement, but the financial expertise that followed revealed the company’s serious difficulties, finding on its bankruptcy which, according to the judge, cancels the procedure of settlement agreement. Even though the company appealed against this judgment, the proceedings followed its court because this appeal was considered as not suspensive of the decision to liquidate.
In time, Bank Al-Maghrib Wali (BAM) Abdellatif Jouahri wanted reassurance. In the aftermath of the court decision, he said during a press briefing that the judicial liquidation “does not in any case say closing the refinery”, but possibly its continuity with a new taker, “state or company”.
Three years later, the Samir’s file is still bogged down. Morocco must now find an answer to the decision of ICSID, an institution of the World Bank.