Israeli investors seek damages from Hungary in int’l court [Updated]


The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), in Washington, DC, will hear a case by Israeli investors seeking more than HUF 100 billion in damages from the state of Hungary because of a failed casino resort investment, daily Magyar Nemzet said on its website on Saturday.

Vigotop, owned by Ronald Lauder and managed by Joav Blum, is seeking the damages under an international investment protection agreement between Hungary and Cyprus, where the company is registered.

Filed in July 2011, the case will begin on Monday and last for two weeks, with the Israeli investors to testify in person at the hearings. Earlier testimony by former prime minister Gordon Bajnai as well as written testimony by former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány could also be used. Former finance minister Péter Oszkó and former staff of Investment and Trade Development Hungary ITDH will give testimony in person on the side of the state.

The plans to build a casino and resort on Lake Velence for more than €1 billion were derailed after a land swap involving the site that took place before Hungary’s current government came to power was put under scrutiny. The Kúria, Hungary’s supreme court, declared the contract on the exchange of farm land for prime lakefront property null and void a year ago.

Update: In response to the allegation that Bajnai testified against his own country in a hearing regarding the investment, his political party Together 2014-Dialogue for Hungary (E14-PM) has released a statement calling the accusation a “blatant lie” and just one part of “a campaign driven by veiled political motives.”

– material by Gergő Rácz was used in this article


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