Russian mobile services provider to refer dispute to arbitration - London court
MOSCOW, February 3 - RAPSI. The High Court of Justice has dismissed an application for an order to Mobile TeleSystems Finance S.A. (MTSF) to drop arbitration proceedings over Kyrgyz mobile services provider Bitel. A copy of the judgment has been made available to the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/rapsinews.сom).
MTS, the largest Russian mobile communications company, intended to purchase Bitel, but lost its control over the Kyrgyz company.
Under the option agreement MTS should have acquired a 49-percent stake in Tarino Limited from BVI-based Nomihold Securities for $170 million. Now Nomihold insists on terminating further proceedings.
The London Court of International Arbitration held in favor of Nomihold Securities in its dispute with MTSF, an MTS subsidiary, in November 2010, but the latter disagreed.
Seeking the judgment enforcement, Nomihold secured in January 2011 an order to MTSF to exercise the option regarding 49 percent in Tarino Limited, which fully owned Bitel in 2005. The London court also ordered MTSF to freeze its assets as an interim relief.
MTSF attempted to challenge the freezing order but failed in August 2011.
MTSF initiated another arbitration over the option agreement in London last November. It alleged that Nomihold Securities was engaged in money laundering and unlawfully purchased Bitel using Tarino. MTSF claimed that in such conditions it just cannot be bound by the obligation to pay $170 million.
Nomihold Securities went to the London court on December 2, 2001, wishing it to oblige MTSF to stay the application.
Nomihold called it an "enforcement war" and thinks that MTSF's purpose is to prevent enforcement of the award in whatever way it can.