German couple in Playa Grande win $4 million in arbitration

The International Centre for Settlement of Disputes has ruled that Costa Rica must pay a German couple, Marion and Reinhard Unglaube, $4,065,900.33.

This settlement comes after Ms. Unglaube brought the government to arbitration for denying her a permit to develop a residential property project in Playa Grande. The property was going to be for eco-tourism.

According to the case, Ms. Unglaube bought the land, but it was later designated as part of a national park for turtles. The site is said to be one of the places leatherback turtles nest.

Despite plans for the new residential area to be turtle friendly,
officials blocked the project in 2003.

Ms. Unglaube had all necessary documents to go forward.

The investor registered a request for arbitration on Jan. 25, 2008, on the grounds that the Encouragement and Reciprocal Protection of Investment Treaty between Germany and Costa Rica had been violated. This treaty is also referred to as BIT.

The umbrella clause in this treaty allows investors to file claims with the investment treaty tribunal for breach of contract.

The courts released a ruling May 16 that said that the treaty had been breeched and Costa Rica is required to pay $3.1 million plus interest to the date of the award in the amount of $965.900.33.

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