ICSID tribunal rules it has jurisdiction over international investment case brought in 2015, and that 956 Greek depositors and bondholders may proceed in their mass claim against the Republic of Cyprus in unprecedented arbitration proceeding; Grant & Eisenhofer leads a coalition of law firms that represent the Greek claimants
ATHENS, Greece and NEW YORK, Feb. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- In a landmark decision issued Feb. 7, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, an international tribunal affiliated with the World Bank, ruled that it has jurisdiction over arbitration proceedings brought by Grant & Eisenhofer against the Republic of Cyprus on behalf of almost 1,000 Greek bank depositors and bondholders who claim heavy losses in the wake of Cyprus's 2013 financial crisis.
In a 160-page decision, the ICSID tribunal ruled that 956 investors' claims arise under identical treaty provisions, are all based on Cyprus's 2013 actions against its banks, and affected all claimants in similar fashion. All claims were therefore held sufficiently homogenous to proceed by way of a mass claim in a single arbitration. It is the first mass claim to do so since the Argentinian bond cases. The tribunal will now assess Cyprus's liability for discriminating against foreign investors and illegal expropriation without paying fair compensation.
Leading financial litigation law firms Grant & Eisenhofer; Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check; and Kyros Law; along with international law firm Fietta LLP, represent the claimants, including Greek individuals and institutional investors, in their efforts to recover their losses, estimated at over €300 million.
The international investment arbitration proceeding was first filed with ICSID in 2015 after the Cyprus government failed to negotiate with investors seeking to recover their losses. Grant & Eisenhofer and their partner firms represent the 956 Greek depositors and bondholders of Laiki Bank and the Bank of Cyprus seeking to hold the Cypriot government accountable for its role in causing investors' lost life savings, college funds and pensions when they were wrongly confiscated by Cyprus, in violation of international law, as part of its €10 billion bank "bail-in" and restructuring of its financial sector.
Greek investors claim that they were discriminated against during the bail-in. Foreign investors were subject to extreme measures while a number of Cypriot entities — including the government itself — were intentionally shielded from such treatment. While the Cyprus crisis was a tragedy for everyone involved, foreigners were hit twice as hard as the Cypriots themselves.
"This precedent-setting decision has major implications for investor-state arbitration," said Olav Haazen, the Grant & Eisenhofer director in charge of the matter. At a time where investor-state arbitration is under attack and the EU is trying to put an end to bilateral investment treaties between member states, the Adamakopoulos v. Cyprus decision catapults ICSID, once again, to the forefront of international arbitration jurisprudence.
"It opens up a new avenue for smaller investors who were wronged by foreign governments. They can now join forces and seek collective redress, even if the host states' own laws offer investors no equivalent access to effective and impartial justice," Mr. Haazen said.
He added, "This is a significant victory for Greek investors in Cyprus who lost basically everything. The actions of the government of Cyprus during the bail-in amounted to state-sanctioned theft. We look forward to continuing this litigation to recover the tremendous financial losses of the nearly 1,000 institutions and individuals."
The case is captioned: Theodoros Adamakopoulos and others v. Republic of Cyprus (ICSID Case No. ARB/15/49)
Grant & Eisenhofer regularly represents U.S., European, Asian, Australian, South American and other international institutional investors. The firm has successfully litigated major investor lawsuits in Germany, France, the U.K. and the Netherlands. That includes leading coalitions of global investors in successfully bringing securities class actions against Fortis in the Netherlands and against Royal Bank of Scotland in the U.K., which were both accused of vastly overstating their liquidity and understating their exposure to the toxic U.S. subprime market. These unprecedented actions led to settlements of $1.5 billion and $1 billion respectively – among the largest securities fraud settlements ever in Europe.
About Grant & Eisenhofer P.A.
Grant & Eisenhofer is one of the U.S.'s leading litigation firms, with a highly successful track record representing plaintiffs in complex litigation and arbitration matters. The firm has offices in Wilmington (Delaware), New York, and Chicago, and an international docket of high-profile cases. G&E's clients include institutional investors and other plaintiffs in U.S. and international securities matters, derivative and corporate governance lawsuits, shareholder activism matters, bankruptcy litigation, antitrust actions, consumer class actions, whistleblower cases involving the False Claims Act, mass tort and environmental suits, birth injury litigation, intellectual property disputes, and civil rights suits. The firm has recovered over $27 billion for clients in the last ten years, and has twice been cited by RiskMetrics for securing the highest average investor recovery in securities class actions. G&E has been named one of the country's top plaintiffs' law firms by The National Law Journal for more than a decade, and was named one of the U.S.'s "Most Feared Plaintiffs Firms" as well as one of Delaware's "Regional Powerhouses for 2018" by Law360. For more information, visit www.gelaw.com.
About Kessler Topaz
Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check is one of the largest firms in the world specializing in the prosecution of complex litigation. Since the Firm's founding in 1987, Kessler Topaz has developed a global reputation for excellence in shareholder, ERISA, consumer protection & antitrust, fiduciary and whistleblower litigation. With a large and sophisticated client base, Kessler Topaz has been responsible for many of the largest plaintiffs' recoveries on record in both the U.S. and around the world. For more information, go to www.ktmc.com.
About Kyros Law
The attorneys at Kyros Law Offices, including John Kyriakopoulos, offer specialized knowledge with certified training accreditation in Financial and Banking law, Capital Markets, Commercial, Corporate, Labor and Administrative law. Kyros Law has significant experience providing top quality advice to institutional and private investors, both Greek and foreign. Through its strategic alliances with prestigious law firms in the U.S. and Europe, the Kyros Law is able to cater to the needs of its clients with multifaceted and integrated solutions both in Greece and internationally. For more information, visit Kyros Law's U.S. website at www.kyroslawoffices.com or its Greece website at www.kyroslawoffices.gr
About Fietta LLP
Fietta is a law firm dedicated to public international law. It is acting as co-counsel with the above firms in the ICSID arbitration that is pending against the Republic of Cyprus. A specialist boutique firm with a track record of success, Fietta competes with the world's largest law firms and international disputes practices. The Firm has won landmark victories in pioneering cases involving State boundaries and territory, multi-billion-dollar investments, international environmental law and human rights. Fietta's lawyers bring together a wide range of experience from top global law firms, international organizations, and government. For more information, visit www.fiettalaw.com.
SOURCE Grant & Eisenhofer