Case of the Day: Orange Middle East & Africa v. Equatorial Guinea

The case of the day is Orange Middle East & Africa v. Republic of Equatorial Guinea (D.D.C. 2016). Orange and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea were the shareholders of a telecommunications company providing service in Equatorial Guinea. The government was the majority shareholder. After some disputes arose, the parties entered into a settlement agreement, which required the government to purchase Orange’s shares if it granted a telecommunications license to a third party. The agreement provided for arbitration of disputes in Paris under the ICC rules.

In 2011, the government granted a third party a license, but it failed to purchase Orange’s shares. Orange demanded arbitration. The arbitrators awarded Orange more than € 131 million. The government sought to set aside the award, but the Court of Appeals in Paris authorized enforcement of the award.

Orange sought to confirm the award in Washington. The government moved to dismiss for insufficient service of process.
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Case of the Day: United States v. One Gulfstream G-V Jet

The case of the day is United States v. One Gulfstream G-V Jet Aircraft Displaying Tail Number VPCES, Its Tools and Appurtenances (D.D.C. 2014). As the name of the case suggests, the United States brought a civil action in rem seeking forfeiture of a jet aircraft. The government alleged that the aircraft had been purchased by Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, Second Vice President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and son of the country’s president, using the proceeds of extortion, public corruption, embezzlement, and theft. Nguema submitted a verified claim to the aircraft. The government served a notice of deposition requiring Nguema to appear for a deposition in Washington. Nguema moved for a protective order, seeking to require the deposition to take place either on written questions, remotely by telephone or videoconference, or in person in Equatorial Guinea. The judge granted the motion.
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