VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Mining junior Rusoro Mining last week won a major victory in its international arbitration complaint against Venezuela, when the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario issued a default judgment owing to Venezuela’s failure to appear.
TSX-V-listed Rusoro advised that the judgment was for more than $1.3-billion, arising out of Rusoro's ongoing dispute with Venezuela over the South American nation's seizure of its gold mining properties in the country.
An August 2016, judgment by the World Bank's International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes ordered the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to pay Russian-owned junior Rusoro nearly $2.2-billion in compensation and interest for illegally expropriating the company’s assets without compensation in 2011.
The Ontario court in April confirmed an arbitration award issued in Rusoro's favour in the same amount. Venezuela has not appealed or sought to vacate the judgement, and its time to do so has expired.
Rusoro also announced that it has filed suit in the Supreme Court of the State of New York (New York County) seeking recognition of the Canadian judgment. Canadian court judgments are presumptively entitled to recognition in New York unless the Canadian judgment suffers from certain specific defects. Rusoro is confident that no such defects exist and that the Canadian judgment will be recognised promptly.
Rusoro brought the New York lawsuit in addition to an action it filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia (DC), which seeks recognition of and the entry of judgment on the original arbitration award. The DC action has been fully briefed since summer, and Rusoro said it remains confident that the DC court will confirm the award in the near future.
A favourable ruling from either the New York or DC court will entitle Rusoro to use all legal procedures – including broad discovery from both Venezuela and third parties – that US law provides judgement creditors. Any judgment issued in New York will also accrue interest at 9% a year, until the judgment is fully paid.