Sorainen represents Windoor in international arbitration proceedings at the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington, D.C., seeking more than EUR 20 million from the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Windoor, a major Estonian manufacturer of glass and aluminium facades, has filed for international arbitration against the Republic of Kazakhstan for breach of the treaty between the Estonian and Kazakh governments on promotion and reciprocal protection of investments (“the Treaty”).
These breaches relate to administrative and law enforcement action taken by the Kazakh authorities in obstructing Windoor’s enforcement of an arbitral award issued in 2015 by the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. That award ordered a Kazakh state enterprise to pay Windoor around EUR 23 million in a dispute concerning Windoor’s investment in the construction of an international business and conference centre in Astana.
For over two years after obtaining the award, Windoor pursued various legal and procedural avenues in Kazakhstan to enforce the arbitration award. In February and October 2016, Windoor notified the Kazakh government of its intention to seek international arbitration if the Kazakhs failed to fulfil their Treaty obligations. However, Kazakhstan has so far still failed to fulfil its obligations.
On 14 September 2018, Windoor filed a request for arbitration with the ICSID, which is part of the World Bank Group headquartered in Washington D.C. The company is represented in these proceedings by Sorainen partner Reimo Hammerberg and senior associate Maria Pihlak together with international law firm Jones Day (Washington & London).
ICSID is an international arbitration body that supports resolution of legal disputes between international investors and countries. At present 154 countries, including Kazakhstan, are contracting members, have ratified the ICSID Convention and have committed to enforce and uphold ICSID arbitral awards.
The Windoor case is the first involving a claim by Estonian company against a foreign state in ICSID, which has been operating since 1966 and which Estonia has been a full member of since 1992.