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Unique-Luxembourg banks instructed to freeze Ecuador property amid Perenco dispute, paperwork present By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Cotopaxi volcano is seen close to Quito, Ecuador, August 10, 2015. REUTERS/Guillermo Granja/File Photograph


By Rowena Edwards and Karin Strohecker

LONDON (Reuters) -A Luxembourg bailiff has ordered banks to freeze property held by Ecuador at accounts within the nation because of a dispute over a $391 million settlement award that Anglo-French oil firm Perenco says stays unpaid, a doc seen by Reuters present.

Ecuador’s authorities pledged in June 2021 to honor the debt, awarded Perenco by the World Financial institution’s Worldwide Centre for Funding Disputes (ICSID) which dominated Ecuador had unlawfully ended a production-sharing settlement with the corporate. The nation’s solicitor basic mentioned final yr that on account of tight funds the federal government had contacted Perenco to barter a fee plan.

“Perenco has thus far, multiple yr later, nonetheless not obtained a single greenback from Ecuador,” Perenco mentioned in a press release on Monday, including it’s going to “take steps to implement its funds rights in opposition to Ecuador in Luxembourg and different jurisdictions.”

The ministry of financial system in Ecuador and the vitality ministry weren’t instantly out there to remark exterior of normal enterprise hours. World regulation agency Hogan Lovells, authorized advisors to Ecuador on U.S. regulation, declined to remark.

A spokesperson on the London workplace for Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s, authorized advisers to the seller supervisor on Ecuador’s eurobonds, didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

A doc seen by Reuters exhibits a Luxembourg bailiff, Pierre Biel & Geoffrey Galle, on July 28 ordered 122 banking entities working in Luxembourg to freeze property in accounts utilized by Ecuador on behalf of Perenco. An worker on the bailiff declined to remark when contacted by Reuters as a result of they don’t seem to be approved to talk to events not concerned within the case.

Reuters couldn’t instantly set up what property Ecuador held in Luxembourg accounts. The banks named included Deutsche Financial institution (ETR:), Credit score Suisse and HSBC.

Credit score Suisse and Deutsche Financial institution declined to remark, whereas HSBC didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

The Latin American nation two years in the past defaulted on $17.4 billion of international debt because the nation buckled below one of many area’s worst coronavirus outbreaks following years of financial stagnation.

As a part of the debt restructuring that adopted, Ecuador offered new bonds maturing in 2030, 2035 and 2040 that are listed on the Luxembourg inventory trade.

Many of those bonds had curiosity funds falling due on July 31.

It was not instantly clear what impression a freeze may need on Ecuador’s means to make these funds. Holders of Ecuador’s worldwide bonds embody main asset managers corresponding to BlackRock (NYSE:), PIMCO and JPMorgan (NYSE:), in keeping with knowledge out there on EMAXX, which gives particulars of funds’ holdings based mostly on their public disclosures. PIMCO declined to remark, whereas BlackRock and JPMorgan weren’t instantly out there for remark.

The case that led to the ICSID award stemmed from a 2007 decree issued by then-President Rafael Correa that boosted the Ecuadorean state’s take from gross sales of oil produced by personal corporations exceeding a sure degree.

Perenco sued Ecuador in 2008 and was in the end awarded $412 million in Might final yr. Perenco is entitled to $391 million after taking into consideration compensation it was ordered to pay Ecuador for environmental injury brought about within the areas the place it operated in Blocks 7 and 21.

President Guillermo Lasso, a conservative former banker who took workplace in Might 2021, has promised to revive Ecuador’s financial system and entice funding – particularly in oil and mining.

“Perenco stays hopeful that Ecuador’s Authorities will lastly honour its worldwide obligations, display its dedication to the rule of regulation, and uphold its guarantees to international buyers, by promptly satisfying the Award with out additional delay,” the corporate mentioned in its assertion.

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