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Privy Council Sets Precedent In DRC Debt Case

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

25 July 2012


Leading offshore law firm, Mourant Ozannes has successfully represented la Generale des Carrieres et des Mines Sarl (Gécamines), a state-owned mining company based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in an appeal recently concluded before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

The Privy Council handed down judgment setting aside orders made by the Jersey Royal Court in November 2010 in favour of the US distressed debt fund, FG Hemisphere Associates LLC (FG).

The appeal concerned determining whether FG could enforce arbitration awards made against the DRC in relation to the Jersey assets of Gecamines. The Privy Council unanimously agreed with the position advanced by the Mourant Ozannes team that Gecamines is a separate legal entity and not an organ of the state of the DRC.

Welcoming the outcome, which took some three and a half years to achieve, Mourant Ozannes's partner, Justin Harvey-Hills said: "This case has involved some very complex issues of international law on which there was little, if any, authority directly on point. The case confirms the importance of separate corporate personality and makes it clear that exceptional circumstances will be required before the separate corporate personality of a state-owned corporation is overridden."

TAGS: court | business | mining | law | international financial centres (IFC) | Jersey | offshore | Congo, Democratic Republic of the

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