Entel funds released to Bolivian government

4 Aug 2008

BNamericas is reporting that a court in New York has ruled in favour of Bolivian telecoms operator Entel, granting it access to funds totalling USD36 million that had been frozen in US bank accounts. The ruling stated that Euro Telecom International (ETI), the Telecom Italia owned holding company with a controlling stake in Entel, had no right to seize any of the company’s assets. The case comes as a result of the Bolivian government’s decision to renationalise the fixed line operator, following which ETI announced it would freeze approximately USD90 million in foreign bank accounts. Late in July British courts also ruled in favour of the Bolivian government, unfreezing USD49 million in UK bank accounts. Previous attempts by ETI at involving the World Bank’s International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in the matter have failed, with the Bolivian government refusing to recognise the arbitrator’s authority.