February 4, 2020 4:17 pm

Former HSH Nordbank files lawsuit against Italy

Failed wind farm investment of around 225 million euros.

As the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports, the Hamburg Commercial Bank (HCOB) has sued the Italian state for compensation. A few days ago, the former HSH Nordbank filed a claim for arbitration at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The bank is represented by the law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius.

In 2006, the former regional bank of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein financed a wind farm in Isola di Capo Rizzuto in Calabria for around 225 million Euros. However, the park is confiscated by the Italian state due to suspected connections to the local mafia clan “‘ndrangheta”. The 48 wind turbines of manufacturer Enercon are never connected to the power grid; HSH Nordbank has to write off its loan almost entirely.

What follows is a legal conflict that drags on for years and eventually ends up at the Corte Suprema di Cassazione, Italy’s highest court, in 2019. The confiscation of the park is declared illegal due to lack of evidence. The public prosecutor’s office in Catanzaro, Calabria, then claims for the release of the park. At the same time, several defendants in the case are acquitted. Now the arbitration proceedings at ICSID are to clarify whether HCOB, as the former Landesbank is called since its privatisation, is entitled to compensation. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Paywall)

This post was written by Jens Secker

(Image rights: istockphoto.com/Juanmonino)

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