WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Crowell & Moring LLP has filed a Notice of Arbitration on behalf of Ruby Roz Agricol (Ruby Roz), a large poultry company operating in Kazakhstan, and its owner, Kassem Omar, against the Republic of Kazakhstan. The notice, filed pursuant to the rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), seeks hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, and alleges Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev personally ordered his country's government to illegally expropriate Ruby Roz's entire business as part of the overall scheme to expropriate several billion dollars of assets held by relatives and friends of the Kazak ruler's former son-in-law, Dr. Rakhat Aliyev.
The notice alleges that, as with other pending international claims against Kazakhstan, in 2007 a dispute arose between Nazarbayev and Aliyev, particularly regarding Nazarbayev's decision to alter the Kazakh Constitution and make himself "President for Life." The notice states that Nazarbayev took action once Aliyev proposed he might run for president himself in order to develop the country's budding democratic system in the Post-Communist era and initiated a campaign that forced Aliyev to flee the country and seek protection in the European Union, where he had served in Vienna, Austria as the Kazakh Ambassador. The notice alleges that Nazarbayev seized or destroyed several billion dollars of energy, media, food services, real estate, and other key business interests in Kazakhstan owned by the family of Aliyev's brother-in-law, Issam Hourani (also spelled Khorani). The notice further claims that Ruby Roz was especially targeted because its owner, Kassem Omar, is married to Issam Hourani's sister.
Omar purchased Ruby Roz in 2004, investing approximately US$73 million to transform it into a modern and profitable operation. By 2007, when the dispute between Nazarbayev and Aliyev began, the company had garnered a significant percentage of the Kazakh poultry product market and was worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Stuart H. Newberger, a partner at Crowell & Moring in Washington, D.C., and counsel for Ruby Roz Agricol, Omar and Hourani family members, said, "As part of its documented campaign of harassment, intimidation and retaliation against the Hourani family, the government of Kazakhstan seized a vibrant and profitable poultry business without any compensation in violation of its own laws and international law. We fully expect this arbitration to rectify this injustice and provide Ruby Roz Agricol and its owner the lost profits they expected to receive but for Kazakhstan's violations."
The Notice of Arbitration is one of several legal disputes Crowell & Moring is pursuing on behalf of the Hourani family under international law and in the US courts. The largest of the claims, brought by Caratube International Oil Company (92% owned by Devincci Hourani, a US Citizen), will be heard in February 2011 by an international tribunal at ICSID, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (under the auspices of the World Bank) sitting in Paris, France. The Notice of Arbitration for Ruby Roz and Omar under UNCITRAL asks that the tribunal reviewing the claim consist of three arbitrators and that it sit in New York. Recently, Issam Hourani and Devincci Hourani filed a US$2 billion lawsuit in a Washington, D.C. federal court against Alexander Mirtchev, his firm Krull Corporation, the international security firm GlobalOptions, Inc. and its subsidiary, GlobalOptions Management for orchestrating Nazarbayev's campaign to seize all of the Hourani Family's business interest in Kazakhstan. That lawsuit also alleges that the Kazakh Embassy in Washington was directly involved in a smear campaign against Issam Hourani by posting defamatory and false allegations on its website. Further legal actions are expected to be filed within the next 30 days.
At least in part as a result of the filing of these legal actions, it has been publicly reported that Kazakhstan has stepped up its efforts to assassinate Aliyev, who is seeking immunity from the World Bank as a witness in the Caratube arbitration, and has received long-term protection from Western countries. Kazakhstan's efforts to have Aliyev extradited from Austria to Kazakhstan have been rejected by the Austrian courts because of the threats to his life and safety.
Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with nearly 500 lawyers representing clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory, and transactional matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes international arbitration, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity. The firm has offices in Washington, DC, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, Anchorage, London, and Brussels. Visit Crowell & Moring online at http://www.crowell.com.
SOURCE Crowell & Moring LLP