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Latin America: Legal Disputes Grow

Legal disputes with governments as well as other private parties are growing in Latin America and are likely to increase further this year.


Last week, Swiss-based cement giant Holcim announced that it had initiated international arbitration proceedings against Venezuela at The World Banks International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington D.C. The company is asking for full compensation for the June 2008 expropriation of its Venezuelan subsidiary.

The Holcim case is only one of the latest cases to reach the ICSID. All in all, Latin America now accounts for 95 of the 124 pending cases at the ICSID, according to a Latin Business Chronicle analysis.  And more cases will likely come, experts say.


”There are countries in Latin America that plan to continue nationalization policies and as government resources to indemnify investors become restricted based on the price of oil, the likelihood of disagreements about the value of investments will increase,” says Hernando Diaz-Candia, managing partner of the Caracas office of U.S.-based law firm Squire Sanders.

Timothy G. Nelson, partner at Skadden Arps, agrees, although he sees disputes arising from more than populist expropriations. “In the NAFTA zone there has been a sporadic number of claims against Mexico ever since the mid-1990s,” he points out. “More recently...

Keywords: Hughes Hubbard, Skadden Arps, Squire Sanders, White & Case

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