Squire Patton Boggs achieved another complete victory for its long-standing client, the Republic of Kosovo, in an arbitration under the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The dispute, Blerim Devolli v Republic of Kosovo, concerned the alleged expropriation of Dardafon.net, a Kosovo virtual mobile network operator (MVNO) owned by the Claimant, Mr. Devolli. As an MVNO, Dardafon.net operated on the basis of an agreement concluded in 2009 with Kosovo Telecom and which expired in June 2019. This cooperation resulted in two commercial ICC arbitrations initiated by Dardafon.net against Kosovo Telecom, and one investment arbitration brought by Mr. Devolli against the Republic of Kosovo. Mr. Devolli had sought EUR 45 million in damages from Kosovo.
The Squire Patton Boggs team was led by partners Luka Misetic (NY), and Rostislav Pekař (Prague), as well as Matej Pustay (Prague), Eva Dragúňová (Bratislava), Jakub Kamenický (Bratislava), Fellenza Limani (Prague), and Mailis Meier-Lutterodt (Prague).
The Tribunal, comprised of Klaus Reichert (chair), Yves Fortier and Bernard Hanotiau, issued a unanimous Award declining jurisdiction because (i) Mr. Devolli had not established any investment in Kosovo, and (ii) Mr. Devolli does not qualify as a foreign investor for the purposes of the Kosovo’s Law on Foreign Investments. The Tribunal also awarded Kosovo costs of over EUR 1.3 million.
“We are pleased to have secured a fourth consecutive victory in investment arbitration for the people of Kosovo,” commented Mr. Misetic. “Squire Patton Boggs thanks the Government of Kosovo for its continued confidence in our firm. We would not be able to achieve these victories without the excellent support provided by Government, the Ministry of Justice, and the State Advocacy Office of Kosovo.”
Squire Patton Boggs has represented the Republic of Kosovo in five international arbitrations. This is the fourth to have reached a final award. The first, ACP Axos v Republic of Kosovo, resulted in a complete victory for Kosovo in defeating a €380 million claim. The second, Bedri Selmani v Republic of Kosovo, was issued in August 2022 and also resulted in a complete victory for Kosovo in a case where the claimant had sought in excess of €45 million before interest. The third, IuteCredit v. Republic of Kosovo, was issued in November 2022 and resulted in the rejection of Claimant’s claim plus an award of a percentage of costs for Kosovo.