America Movil stuck with $2 million legal bill over Colombian unit

America Movil stuck with $2 million legal bill over Colombian unit

America Movil has been ordered to pay $2.2 million to cover the legal costs of its case against the state of Colombia, in which the operator accused the government of illegally expropriating its local subsidiary Comcel.

Reuters reported that the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investor Disputes (ICSID) tribunal has dimissed the claim, leaving America Movil on the hook for the legal fees.

America Movil initiated the case in 2016, challenging a 2013 ruling that the government could assume control over certain telecom assets in the event of the expiration or termination of concessions.

Comcel’s concessions had been terminated that year and, following this, America Movil alleged that there had been “a subsequent refusal of the government to recognise Comcel’s property rights”, with the unit prevented from freely using or selling its assets.

However, the ICSID has ruled that while the Colombian state had taken “certain measures” relating to the termination of Comcel’s concessions, these “did not represent an expropriation of America Movil’s investments in Comcel”, which would have been in contravention of Mexico and Colombia’s free trade agreement.

In 2017, a previous arbitration ruling ordered America Movil to pay the Colombian government US$1.08 billion over the issue, and the operator complied with the directive. This time around, it has stated that it is “analysing the available legal actions against the award, including the potential request of its annulment.”

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