TASR, Teraz.sk, 17.6.2014 EN


IHP: Slovakia's Success in Arbitration with EURAM BANK Not So Final 

      Bratislava, June 17 (TASR) - Slovakia's success in arbitration to which former stakeholder of health-insurer Apollo, Austrian company EURAM BANK, took Slovakia over a ban on profits for private health-insurance companies, might not be secured yet, as the Austrian company may be considering taking further legal action against the decision of th e court, TASR learnt on Tuesday.
      On June 4, the arbitration tribunal threw out the original lawsuit in which the former Apollo shareholder sought €131 million in compensation for the ban introduced between 2006-07.
      Legal expert of the Institute for Health Policy (IHP)attorney at law Jana Martinkova confirmed that EURAM BANK may now want to pursue another lawsuit. She added that the period for seeking such a measure is normally three months from the date of the announcement of the verdict.
      "The most important argument for pursuing such a lawsuit usually involves violations of procedural or property rights," said lawyer Martinkova, adding that if EURAM BANK files a complaint at a general court in Bratislava it will most probably argue that this is to prevent its right to pursue arbitration proceedings from expiring.
      According to Martinkova, also of importance is the extent to which the bank has been active in pursuing its claims. "If it hasn't been active enough in the proceedings and has failed to go beyond the necessary procedural meas ures, its new complaint can be complied with," said the lawyer. 
      Martinkova previously alleged that EURAM BANK's investment activities in Apollo might have been of a speculative nature. In her statement provided last year to pluska.sk news web site, Martinkova pointed to the fact that the bank's subsidiary E.I.C. became a 51-percent stakeholder in Apollo in 2007, thus acquiring the shares at the time when the Government-sponsored plan to reform the health-insurance system was already known.
      Meanwhile, befor e the decision of June 2014, the arbitration court had partly dismissed EURAM BANK's claim in its verdict of October 2012, citing reasons pertaining to jurisdiction. The arbitration court subsequently turned EURAM BANK's complaint down as the latter had also taken the matter to a Slovak court. "The tribunal ruled that EURAM BANK abandoned its right to arbitration, and therefore the tribunal does not have the right to decide on the matter," the Finance Ministry stated earlier upon hearing the verdict.
      The bank initiated the arbitration proceedings in November 2009, bringing a lawsuit before Bratislava District Court a year later. The company objected that the legislative amendments to the public health system introduced by Prime Minister Robert Fico's first government between 2006-07 resulted in violations of the bilateral investment agreement between Austrian and Slovakia, causing the company damages of more than €131 million.
      EURAM BANK's complaint against the ban wasn't the only one. It followed two other lawsuits initiated by the Dutch stakeholder of health-insurance company Dovera and the Dutch stakeholder of health-insurer Union