UAE - Emirati conglomerate Al Habtoor Group served a notice of an Investment Treaty Dispute against the Lebanese Republic in connection with Lebanon’s alleged breaches of the Bilateral Investment Treaty between the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.

The dispute is related to the Al Habtoor Group’s investments in Lebanon, said an Al Habtoor Group statement.

Al Habtoor Group has invested in the Lebanon close to $1 billion to date. Among which, the group placed funds within the Lebanese banking system, and invested in luxury hotels branded under Hilton Hotels & Resorts, a shopping mall, a 100,000 sq m entertainment and leisure destination named Habtoor Land and other real estate investments across the country.

Under the UAE-Lebanon treaty that came into force in 1999, Lebanon undertook to protect Emirati investments in its territory, the statement said.

"Lebanon has breached its obligations under the treaty towards Al Habtoor Group. In particular, Lebanon and its Central Bank have imposed restrictions preventing Al Habtoor Group from freely transferring its funds amounting to over $44 million from the Lebanese banks. Lebanon has also failed to secure a safe and sound environment for Al Habtoor Group’s businesses and investments. As a result of Lebanon’s actions, Al Habtoor Group has incurred and continues to incur significant losses and damages," the statement said.

Al Habtoor Group, represented by the international law firm White & Case LLP, intends to pursue its rights vigorously, locally and internationally, it said.

By sending a formal notice of the dispute to the Lebanese various Government bodies in early January 2024, Al Habtoor Group triggered the six-month cooling-off period under the UAE-Lebanon Treaty. If the dispute is not resolved within six months and the Al Habtoor Group claims are not settled, it will be open to Al Habtoor Group to commence appropriate local and international legal proceedings against the Lebanese Republic in accordance with the treaty, it added.  

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