June 21st, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) A group of U.S. investors has begun arbitration proceedings against the government of Costa Rica under the auspices of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).
The investors claim they had invested in the building of luxury homes in Playa Grande de Santa Cruz, Guanacaste between 2003 and 2007, but beginning in 2006 began to receive notices from Costa Rican authorities that the government intended to expropriate their oceanfront land.
The group is now seeking compensation from Costa Rica to offset their lost investments.
“The investors do not question the sovereign right of Costa Rica to expropriate land, in good faith, for a valid public purpose. They just want to receive the fair market value of the land they have been forced to resign, as established by CAFTA, and as customary in international law,” said Vianney Saborio, an attorney representing the group.
According to documents, Costa Rica authorities decided to expropriate the land in order to create a national park that includes the nesting areas of leatherback turtles, which are in danger of extinction.
The investors claim that the government failed to compensate them at fair market value for the land that was expropriated from them.
Todd Weiler, another attorney representing the group, claims the group has been waiting for a resolution on the matter for eight years, and that the investors continue to be forced to pay property tax on their former properties.
Saborio said that the arbitration process was begun at the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, part of the World Bank based in Washington, D.C.