MOSCOW, November 20 - RAPSI. Egyptian billionaire and Weather Investments board chairman Naguib Sawiris has filed a lawsuit with the World Bank's arbitration court to recover losses inflicted on the Djezzy Algerian mobile operator by the Algerian government, Izvestia daily reported.
Weather Investments, whose primary owner is VimpelCom, holds a 51 percent stake in Djezzy. VimpelCom also owns Russian-based VimpelCom and Ukraine's Kievstar.
Sawiris submitted his lawsuit to the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a division of the World Bank based in Washington, United States.
Sawiris, the Weather Investments board chairman, stated in his claim that the Algerian government has consistently violated its obligations in the investment agreement between Algeria and the Belgian-Luxemburg Economic Union, where Weather Investments is registered.
The suit reads that the Algerian government has been interfering in Djezzy's business activities since 2008, imposing various tax and other financial demands on the company, and negatively affecting the company's reputation with threats of nationalization. According to Sawiris, this caused Weather Investments $5 billion in losses.
This lawsuit is another attempt to put pressure on the Algerian government in the interests of VimpelCom.
VimpelCom bought Djezzy, among other Weather Investments assets from Sawiris, in 2010 for $5.8 billion. But after the announcement of the transaction, it transpired that the Algerian government was planning to buy out 51 percent of shares in Djezzy so that the state's stake in the company amounted to 100 percent.
Since then, Sawiris and VimpelCom have been holding negotiations with the Algerian authorities on the price of the purchase.