Freezing order overturned in £25m ­Bolivian telecoms case

Reed Smith and Stephenson Harwood have secured a Court of Appeal discharge of a $50m (£25.44m) freezing injunction against the Republic of Bolivia and its state-owned telecommunications company.

Netherlands company ETI Euro Telecom International (ETI) originally obtained the freezing injunction through the Commercial Court against Bolivia and Empresa Nacional De Telecomunicaciones (Entel) due to an ongoing dispute with the South American country.

ETI and Bolivia are ­currently in arbitration under International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) rules, as the former is pursuing compensation over the nationalisation of Bolivia’s telecoms industry.

Stephenson Harwood partner John Fordham, leading for Bolivia, said: “The court showed that its jurisdiction over arbitrations does not extend to ICSID.”

Reed Smith partner ­Gautam Bhattacharyya, leading for Entel, added that the case clarified that parties not involved in ICSID ­arbitrations – such as his client – could not be bound by related freezing orders.

Fordham instructed Paul McGrath of Essex Court Chambers for Bolivia, while Bhattacharyya instructed Lord Daniel Brennan QC of Matrix Chambers for Entel.
ETI was represented by Orrick ;Herrington ;& ­Sutcliffe partner Simon Cockshutt, with lead counsel Gabriel Moss QC of 3-4 South Square.