State of Costa Rica Sued Over Tourism Project

A group of U.S. investors is suing the state for $70 million alleging violation of DR-CAFTA preventing the development of real estate project Las Olas in Puntarenas.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The lawsuit filed with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) by a group of investors led by David Richard Aven notes that "... national authorities treated them unfairly, in relation to a real estate development project in the Esterillos beach area in the Central Pacific. They also claim that the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with their country was violated. " reports that "...According to the claim in the notice of arbitration (presented by the plaintiffs in September 2013), the employers argue that Costa Rica destroyed the real estate project Las Olas at Esterillos Beach. The investor group manages eight companies in the country and has 49% in another Costa Rican company. "

According to the details in the notice of intent to arbitrate document, "....It all started in 2002 when they bought 39 acres in Esterillos Oeste and a beach concession of more than two hectares was included. Employers claim that the necessary permits from the National Environmental Technical Secretariat (Setena) were obtained, therefore they started to build, because there were no rivers, wetlands or protected forests. "

"...However, they claim that later on the Ministry of Environment (Minae) shifted its position, but reported in its notification that there were attempts to bribe officials at the Minae both in Quepos, and the Municipality of Parrita. Following this a criminal complaint was filed, but the legal defense of Aven states that the prosecution ignored it. "

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From  a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Trade:

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