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Pres meets Maldives’ international advocates in GMR airport case

Fathmath Shaahunaz
07 February 2017, MVT 15:46
President Yameen (R) meets Michael Bloch QC (L-3) and Kenneth Pereira (L-2), who advocated for the Maldives in the arbitration case over the contract broken with GMR Group of India. PHOTO/PRESIDENT'S OFFICE
Fathmath Shaahunaz
07 February 2017, MVT 15:46

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on Tuesday met two senior advocates of the international legal team that had represented the Maldives in the arbitration case regarding the contract broken with GMR Group of India.

In a statement, the President’s Office said the president had expressed his gratitude to Michael Bloch QC and Kenneth Pereira for their hard work. It did not reveal further details on the meeting.

The president was accompanied by Attorney General Mohamed Anil, Deputy Attorney General Ahmed Usham, State Minister of the President’s Office Mohamed Naseer, Maldives Airports Company Ltd (MACL)’s Managing Director Adil Moosa and its board member Ibrahim Mahfooz during this meeting that took place early Tuesday at the President’s Office.

Michael Bloch QC is a top trial and appellate advocate of Blackstone Chambers of the United Kingdom. He has advocated for nations such as the United States, France and Russia in various civil cases.

Kenneth Pereira is the Managing Director of Aldgate Chambers LLC in Singapore. He has advocated in major arbitration cases in Singapore and the United States, in addition to providing legal counsel to international firms.

The previous government of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) under Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s reign had handed over Velana International Airport’s operations to GMR Group for 25 years. Two years later, the government of Former President Mohamed Waheed, who rose to office following Nasheed’s fall from power, had taken back the airport from GMR as the agreement was debilitating to both MACL and Maldivian citizens.

GMR had filed the case at Singapore’s Arbitration Centre tribunal, seeking USD 1.4 billion as compensation over the broken contract. However, Singapore’s Arbitration Centre had deemed the amount too high and finally settled on USD 208 million with four years’ of 17 percent interest and operational costs, totalling USD 271 million.

MACL had settled the compensation with the aid of Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) which had purchased a bond of USD 140 million from MACL from the state reserve, to be repaid within three years at an interest rate of 4.9 percent.

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