July 9th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) Costa Rica is facing more than $1.4 billion in potential settlements from lawsuits and international arbitration brought by four multinational companies. Two of the companies have already began international arbitration while the others threaten are threatening to sue the country should they be unable to reach an agreement with the Costa Rican government.
The companies which are demanding compensation from Costa Rica are the Spanish firm, Riteve, which is in charge of annual vehicle inspections in the country; Swiss investment firms Cervin Invesstissements and Rhone Invesstissments which represent the natural gas firm, Gas Z (Gas Zeta); Canadian mining company, Infinto Gold; and Brazilian firm, OAS, who’s controversial concession to expand the highway between San José and San Ramon was rescinded by Costa Rica after public outcry.
Riteve is claiming that they are owed money under the International Treaty for the Protection of Foreign Investments, because during their first 10 years of operation in the country, the government failed to fulfill a portion of its contract that would create a formula to facilitate adjustments in Riteve’s fees.
The Swiss investment firms, owners of Gas Z, have filed for international arbitration before the International Center for Investment Disputes, based at the World bank in Washington, D.C. The companies are demanding payment of $30 million for what they consider damages to their investments and “discriminatory treatment” against them.
Meanwhile, the Canadian mining company, Infinto Gold, issued a six-month ultimatum to Costa Rica in April, demanding that the government allow the company to resume its work at the Crucitas mine in San Carlos or face a lawsuit for more than $1 billion. The Costa Rican government is standing its ground, calling it “case closed.”
The company says it has invested $92 million in the project and stands to lose $1 billion in potential profits. The company said it would fight until “the bitter end” if necessary.
Finally, Brazilian firm OAS is demanding $45.9 million as a result of the termination of the concession and construction of the San José – San Ramon highway.