Russian citizen Konstantin Christie (pictured) has been arbitral tribunal administrative secretary in the arbitration case Bulgaria’s National Electric Company (NEC) vs Russia’s Atomstroyexport in the dispute on the Belene Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). This scandalous fact emerges from the pages of the arbitration decision that the power in Bulgaria has carefully concealed. However, it leaked in the platform for anonymous sharing Balkanleaks. The text is 420 pages long and includes other inconvenient for Bulgarian rulers facts that explain why it was classified.
Christie’s appointment is listed on p. 24 of the Decision of the International Arbitration Court in Geneva. The scandal lies in the fact that the practice is that namely secretaries write the decisions in arbitration cases. This was well known to NEC’s lawyers from the law office White & Case. It turns out that the court has been in blatant conflict of interest, but neither the lawyers from White & Case, nor Bulgarian experts have repudiated this fact.
Bivol published earlierother evidence of conflict of interest. At the same time while representing Bulgaria against Atomstroyexport, the law firm White & Case has also represented the Russian State in the case for 50 billion US dollars against oil giant Yukos. Yukos won in the first instance, but White & Case appealed the decision of the arbitration before the local court in The Hague. There, White & Case managed to prove that the decision of the arbitration was written by… the secretary of the Court.
In other words, the law firm knew that it could challenge the decision of the arbitration on “Belene” under this clause, but instead recommended to the NEC not to turn to the Bulgarian Court and pay the Russians. The payment of 620 million was urgently put in motion by the government of the party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) and by the majority in the Parliament, and the decision in the arbitration case was carefully classified.
Prominent people from GERB have received hefty fees as witnesses
On page 410 we learn that the NEC has paid 28 million US dollars in court costs, including the “modest” 3.5 million euro for “experts’ fees and expenses”.
Who are the experts who have taken money in the lost case? Former GERB Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov admitted that he has taken 70,000 euro as a “consultant”. The text shows that the expenses for witnesses amounted to 69,114.30 euro. It is unclear, however, whether this is the money paid to Traikov, or it was slated for something else.
As “nuclear dissident” Georgi Kotev notes in his blog, on page 27, we see the names of prominent people from GERB: Delyan Dobrev, another former Economy and Energy Minister, now a lawmaker and Chairman of the Energy Committee in the Parliament and Valentin Nikolov, former Peputy Minister and former Director of NPP “Kozloduy” during the first term in office of the GERB government of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, and now a GERB lawmaker as well. Vladimir Karolev, advisor to the current Economy and Energy Minister, is also among the witnesses.
Whether these witnesses have received money in the “unfortunate” arbitration case and what exact amounts should be made clear by the Parliamentary Ad-hoc Committee tasked to verify all data, facts and circumstances in the decisions and actions under the project NPP “Belene” for the period from 2006 to the end September 2016 that led to inflicting huge debts for the Bulgarian side.
That same Commission should also examine the evidence that there is a double conflict of interest detrimental for the Bulgarian side in the lost arbitration case – White & Case representing the Russian State in a case with far greater material interest and the secretary of the Court having Russian citizenship.
Bivol is continuing its examination of the arbitration decision and will report on other “bombs” hidden in the concealed from the public document.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian