Cairn Energy sues Air India in US court to recover $1.2 billion arbitration award against India

Cairn Energy has moved a US court suing Air India in order to implement a $1.2 billion arbitration award that it received against India in a tax dispute case.

Ever because the arbitration award, Cairn Energy was figuring out Indian belongings overseas to get the award enforced. These belongings included Air India, money held by state-run banks overseas and ships.

According to information company Reuters, Cairn filed the lawsuit on Friday in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, searching for to make Air India accountable for the judgement that was awarded to Cairn. The lawsuit argued that the service as a state-owned firm, is “legally indistinct from the State itself”.

“The nominal distinction between India and Air India is illusory and serves only to aid India in improperly shielding its assets from creditors like (Cairn),” the submitting mentioned.

On May 7, quoting two unnamed authorities sources and a banker, Reuters reported that India has asked state-run banks to withdraw funds from their overseas foreign money accounts overseas.

This, the report mentioned, was as a result of New Delhi “feared Cairn Energy may try to seize the cash after an arbitration ruling in a tax dispute”.

ALSO READ | India asks state state-run banks to withdraw cash held abroad over Cairn dispute: Report

The transfer to sue Air India places stress on India to pay the sum of $1.2 billion plus curiosity and prices that the British agency was awarded by an arbitration tribunal in December. The physique dominated India breached an funding treaty with Britain and mentioned New Delhi was liable to pay.

What is that this arbitration award?

In December 2020, Cairn Energy was awarded damages of greater than $1.2 billion plus curiosity and prices in a long-drawn tussle with the Indian authorities over its retrospective tax claims.

While India has filed an attraction, the London-listed agency had began figuring out Indian belongings abroad, together with financial institution accounts, that could possibly be seized in the absence of a settlement.

According to Reuters, Cairn Energy has registered its declare against India in courts in the US, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Singapore and Quebec. These strikes may “make it easier to seize assets and enforce the arbitration award”.

“Earlier this week, a guidance was sent to state-run banks to withdraw funds from their nostro accounts,” Reuters reported quoting a authorities official. The steerage was reportedly issued by the finance ministry.

A nostro account refers to an account a financial institution holds abroad at one other financial institution in the foreign money of that jurisdiction. Such accounts are used for worldwide commerce and to settle different overseas change transactions.

India’s attraction against arbitration award

In March, India Today TV reported that India would file an appeal against arbitration award that went in favour of Cairn Energy.

Speaking to India Today TV, authorities sources had mentioned that “just in case enforcement proceedings are initiated, India is confident to address them and will strongly defend its interests and sovereign rights”.

Courts in 5 nations, together with the US and the UK, have given recognition to an arbitration award that has requested India to return $1.4 billion to Cairn Energy, opening up the opportunity of the British oil firm to seize Indian belongings in these nations.

The Cairn Energy subject includes a global arbitration tribunal award that went in the corporate’s favour. Cairn Energy had received the case on the tribunal after a dispute with the India’s income authority over a retroactively utilized capital features tax.

ALSO READ | India to contest $1.4 billion Cairn arbitration award and fight for right to tax

Earlier this yr, Cairn Energy CEO Simon Thomson landed in Delhi to meet Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in an tried outreach, however was requested to meet the then finance secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey.

Later, whereas Thomson termed this assembly as constructive, the federal government welcomed Cairn’s transfer to attain out for a decision.

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