Cairn Energy says it has identified Indian assets for seizing should it be not paid

New Delhi: British oil firm Cairn Energy Plc on Tuesday said it has identified Indian sovereign assets overseas, which it can seize in the event of New Delhi failing to return over $1.7 billion that an international arbitration tribunal has ordered after rescinding a retrospective tax demand.

"Cairn is extremely confident that satisfaction of the award will be achieved either by negotiated settlement or by enforcement against Indian assets," the firm said in its 2020 annual earnings statement.

The firm has moved courts in nine countries to get the arbitral award registered and recognised. "The tribunal ruled unanimously that India had breached its obligations to Cairn under the UK-India Bilateral Investment Treaty and awarded to Cairn damages of $1.2 billion-plus interest and costs, which immediately became payable. The total due at the year-end was $1.7 billion," it said.

The firm said it has engaged directly with the government of India regarding satisfaction of the award, which is also enforceable against Indian-owned assets in more than 160 countries that have signed and ratified the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.

"Cairn has already taken steps to have the Award recognised in certain major jurisdictions in which Indian sovereign assets have been identified," the statement said. PTI had on March 8 reported that the December 21 award from a three-member tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Netherlands has been recognised and confirmed by courts in the US, the UK, Netherlands, Canada and France. Further, the firm has started the process to register the award in Singapore, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and the Cayman Islands.

"Cairn's engagement with the Government of India on its arbitration award will continue in parallel with pursuing options of enforcement and monetisation of the Award in order to safeguard shareholders' rights," the statement noted.

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