Vietnam wins $4 bil lawsuit brought by US investor

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Vietnam has won its first foreign lawsuit thanks to international judges' intervention, Justice Ministry officials said Saturday.

The ministry and government agencies and authorities in the south central province of Binh Thuan were hit with a lawsuit by American investor South Fork in 2011. The suit demanded nearly US$4 billion compensation for a contract violation.

But the International Council for Commercial Arbitration in late 2013 rejected all accusations and demands, and asked the company to pay all the expenses incurred to Vietnamese parties during the lawsuit.

In 2004, Vietnam's Ministry of Investment and Planning approved South Fork's project for a tourism and service complex on an area of more than 600 hectares in the province.

The ministry asked the company to start the project in the next five months or its license would be revoked.

South Fork took no actions later, so the province government in 2007 allowed local Duong Lam Company to excavate titanium on 120 hectares of the area, which was based on a transfer contract between South Fork and Duong Lam.

But as the new project was about excavation rather than tourism, South Fork hired the law firm Dardenne & Boyd to sue the province administration for a contract breach.

The area remains vacant until now, and Duong Lam's excavation license has also expired.

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