Ioan and Viorel Micula, the two brothers owners of European Drinks, have won the lawsuit against Romania in the Court of Arbitration in Washington and thereby the Ministry of Public Finance is supposed to pay them about 84 million euro (376 million lei), plus penalties according to Mediafax.
Under these circumstances, the ministry wants to offset that amount against the company’s debt, its representatives said to the press agency.
In his turn, Ioan Micula commented that ‘if the representatives of the Ministry of Finance say that they will cover the debt with this money then it means they know better. I know that we do not have such big debts, and the debts we have are not because of us, but because of the economic context.’, quoted by Mediafax. He further explained that the debts in question are due to the black market.
The lawsuit, which started at the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in 2005, it is the first one Romania loses at ICSID – member of the World Bank Group and the most important international institution which facilitates arbitration and conciliation of legal disputes between international investors. This dispute concerned the decision of Romanian authorities on eliminating some tax breaks granted to European Drinks for investments in deprived areas.Ioan and Viorel Micula, the major shareholders of European Drinks group are also Swedish citizens and at that point, in 2005, they claimed that Romania failed to fulfill its commitment in relation with a mutual protection of investments and which is stipulated by the Bilateral Agreement between Romania and Sweden.