Macau S.A.R and Hong Kong S.A.R:
Today Lao Holdings, and its wholly owned subsidiary Sanum Investment
Ltd., launched a website called www.shameonlaos.com.
The site contains information concerning treaty claims filed against the
Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic to stop the alleged
illegal taking of an investment worth at least US$400 million by the
Government of Lao, as well as the Government’s cancellation of permits
for projects that would have been worth hundreds of millions more.
“We want people to see the questionable conduct in which the Lao
Government has been engaged. We’re not just concerned about what this
conduct has meant for our many employees and us. We worry about what it
means for the treatment of foreign direct investment (http://shameonlaos.com/the-issue/) in
Laos generally, which the country and its people so badly need,” said
Jody Jordahl, President of Sanum.
“We invite people who are outraged or disappointed by this news to
contact the ministries involved and tell them how they feel about it.”
Jordahl continued: “We invested in good faith in the Lao DPR. We
believed the government when it said it would uphold the rule of law. We
established one of the largest businesses in Laos and created thousands
of jobs for the Lao people. As we became more successful, they moved in
to take it from us. This is a simple case of a government breaking its
promise to protect foreign investors against greed and exploitation. If
they can do this to us, they can do it to any direct foreign investment.”
Sanum Investment Ltd. was enticed to invest in the Lao DPR on the basis
of the government’s promises of a safe and stable economic and legal
environment, where foreign investments were promised protection and
security through steadfast adherence by local officials to the rule of
law. Its investment of over US$85 million in capital began five years
ago. Had the Government not changed its treatment of Sanum, that
investment should be worth more than US$500 million today.
The forum for these claims is international arbitration, under
investment protection treaties signed by Laos for the benefit of foreign
investors. The International Centre for the Settlement of Investment
Disputes, an independent arm of the World Bank, will administer the Lao
Holdings case. The Sanum Investment case will be handled by an ad hoc
tribunal as provided under the applicable treaty. Both tribunals will be
composed of three arbitrators, who are authorized to issue binding
damages awards against offending countries.
for Sanum Investment Ltd.
Jeff Eller, +1-512-432-1910
Asia Media Contact:
John Morgan, +852-2894-6399
Nicholas Worley, +852-2894-6313