State to counter-sue following US court ruling

16 Mar 2005

In the wake of a recent US court ruling demanding that the Lebanese government pay damages of USD420 million to Issam Beydoun, the owner of US-based American Telecom Group (ATG), the Lebanese authorities now say they plan to counter-sue Beydoun, and claim that the court ruling is invalid. Last week, ATG won a case in which it claimed it was unfairly disqualified from bidding in Lebanon’s aborted 2003 licence auction and the subsequent award of mobile network management contracts for its two GSM operators in 2004. However, the Lebanon government is filing its own proceedings alleging that the US court has no jurisdiction in the matter and that ATG was disqualified from participating for its failure to meet minimum bidding conditions. Lebanon is now embroiled in two legal challenges in regard to its telecoms sector: it is also involved in an international arbitration with France Télécom for the premature termination of a build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract, rescinded in 2001.