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Tribunal ruling

Cairn Energy wins freeze on Indian assets in tax battle


Cairn’s battle in India goes back to 2014

Scottish oil and gas explorer Cairn Energy has won a freeze on some of India’s state-owned assets worth more than €20 million as it steps up pressure on the Indian government to comply with an arbitration award.

A tribunal in Paris ordered the freeze on about 20 centrally located properties belonging to the Indian government as part of a guarantee of the amount owed to Cairn, the company said.

“This is the necessary preparatory step to taking ownership of the properties and ensures that the proceeds of any sales would be due to Cairn,” the company told the Reuters news agency.

The Edinburgh-based firm was awarded damages of more than $1.2bn (£871m) plus interest and costs in December after a long-running tax battle with the Indian government.

Despite the verdict, the New Delhi government filed an appeal in March, calling for the decision to be overturned.

Cairn has been identifying Indian assets overseas, including the assets of national carrier Air India, that could be seized in the absence of a settlement.

The dispute between Cairn Energy and the Indian government stretches back to early 2014, when the Indian government froze Cairn Energy’s 10% stake in Cairn India following the introduction of a retrospective tax legislation.

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