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Crystallex awarded US$1.39B in damages over Las Cristinas expropriation case

The International Centre for Settlement of InvestmentDisputes awarded US$1.39 billion in damages to inrelation to claims against Venezuela for expropriating the company's investmentin the LasCristinas gold mining project.

Crystallex filed its request for arbitration pursuant to thetreaty signed between Canada and Venezuela on the promotion and protection ofinvestments.

The tribunal upheld Crystallex's claims that Venezuelaviolated the treaty by failing to accord fair and equitable treatment of thecompany's investment in the country and by unlawfully expropriating thoseinvestments, the company said April 5.

Venezuela frustrated Crystallex's legitimate expectations,engaged in arbitrary conduct in denying the permit and rescinding the contractit had signed with the company, and committed several acts lacking transparencyand consistency, the tribunal concluded in its April 4 decision.

The tribunal therefore found that Venezuela's "overallconduct vis-à-vis Crystallex, thus violated the [Treaty] standard … and causedall of the investments made by Crystallex to become worthless."

The amount to be paid is based on Crystallex's investment inLas Cristinas of US$1.20 billion on April 13, 2008, the date when Venezueladenied an environmental permit, plus pre- and post-interest from that date.