Lawyer: Penta Could Still Obtain €50 million via Court Decision
Date: 09.05.2011 13:50 Author: KLEP Urgency: 4 Category: EN: Crime and justice - cri

Lawyer: Penta Could Still Obtain €50 million via Court Decision

      Bratislava, May 9 (TASR) - Despite the fact that the European Court of Arbitration in Strasbourg will no longer deal with a lawsuit concerning the legislative ban imposed on health-insurance companies retaining their profits, health-insurance company Dovera, which belongs to the Penta financial group, could obtain €50 million via a court decision, it was claimed on Monday.
      "Penta has big chance of succeeding at a state court. Not with the sum demanded in the arbitration, which was €750 million, but a maximum of €50 million in total. At the same time, the biggest part of this [sum] doesn't represent expenditures for the state, as it is deposited in the account of the health-insurance company. The rest could be represented by compensation for the fact that these financial means couldn't be used during the given period," TASR was told by Jana Martinkova from law firm Advocatus Martinkova, which deals with the sphere of health-insurance legislation. In the past she claimed that Slovakia had a chance of winning the arbitration lawsuit.
      Martinkova views the ruling of the arbitration court as a big success for Slovakia, the Finance Ministry and its lawyer - renowned U.S. law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flow. She pointed out, however, that Slovakia's victory doesn't have any influence on a lawsuit with Eureko and Euram. "The result of these arbitrations most of all depend on the legal representation and strategy that they have chosen," said the lawyer.
      When it comes to the possible reasons why the arbitration court decided that the lawsuit doesn't come under its jurisdiction, Martinkova thinks that the court ruled in this way because of "the relevant fact that HICEE entered Dovera holding in September 2006, when the legislative changes concerning health-insurance companies were already being discussed. These proceedings might have been assessed by the court as impermissible 'treaty shopping', that is to say 'speculative investment', which isn't protected by the treaty on protection of investments. This fact was probably used by Slovakia's lawyer to the benefit of Slovakia".
      The legislation that banned health-insurers in Slovakia from retaining profits was passed by Parliament during the previous government led by Robert Fico back in 2008. Dutch Dovera shareholder HICEE took Slovakia to court over this in January 2009, claiming some €500 million in compensation for damage done to its investment.
     Slovakia's Constitutional Court in January 2011 ruled that the legal norm isn't in line with the Constitution. The current Government led by Iveta Radicova responded to this by amending the said law to make it possible for health-insurers to retain profits as of August.

Keywords: Exp-SR-Penta-Dovera-Hicee-arbitration-Martinkova-profit
Source: 20110509TBB00329