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Freshfields and Foley Hoag face off as Venezuela ordered to pay Canadian miner more than $1.2bn

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Foley Hoag have advised as an international tribunal has ordered Venezuela to pay more than $1.2bn to Vancouver’s Rusoro Mining following its ruling that Venezuela unlawfully expropriated the company’s goldmines.

Venezuela took over the Canada-based company’s investments in the South American country as part of a nationalisation of the gold industry in 2011.

After a four year battle, Rusoro has been awarded damages exceeding $967m plus interest. The tribunal has also ordered Venezuela to contribute $3.3m towards Rusoro’s arbitration costs.

Rusoro’s claim was upheld by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) after a four year battle. Rusoro claimed Venezuela breached its obligations under the Canada-Venezuela Bilateral Investment Treaty.

Freshfields global international arbitration head Nigel Blackaby worked with the Magic Circle firm’s Paris international arbitration head Noah Rubins to advise Rusoro on the dispute while Foley Hoag acted for Venezuela.

Rusoro issued a statement saying the firm expects that Venezuela will comply with its international obligations and make prompt payment of the award.

The Rusoro win is the latest in a string of high-profile arbitration cases Freshfields has acted on including its role advising Canadian miner Crystallex International at the ICSID which concluded earlier this year. Blackaby led on the Freshfields side to represent Crystallex which was awarded the $1.38bn bilateral treaty arbitration opposite Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher which advised Venezuela.

The Magic Circle firm also acted opposite Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in one of the biggest cases for the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) this year, as Tokyo telco NTT Docomo pursued $1.2bn in damages from a Tata Group linked company for a breach of shareholder agreement. Freshfields acted for Tata Group company Tata Sons.