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Tax fight escalates, French Court reportedly allows Cairn to seize Indian properties in Paris – Economic Times

A French court has permitted Cairn Energy to freeze several India-owned assets in Paris towards the settlement of the international arbitration order, the Financial Times reported.

This comes following India’s protracted refusal to abide by the arbitration order that asked the Indian government to pay

$1.2 bn in damages, plus interest and costs.

The order allows Cairn to take over 20 properties of the government of India.

Cairn will effectively transfer the ownership of the 20 properties valued at more than 20 million euros, including those in the 16th arrondissement in Paris, the report quoted the company as saying.

At the end of 2020, the award amounted to $1.7 billion. The Indian government had appealed against the award.

In the wake of India’s refusal to go by the award, Cairn had moved courts in the US, UK, Netherlands, Canada, France, Singapore, Japan, UAE and Cayman Islands to get the case registered and recognised.

Around the time Cairn filed its latest petitions, the Indian government had directed state-run banks to safeguard their dollar deposits for fear that they could be seized.

Earlier this year, Cairn CEO Simon Thomson had met top finance ministry officials for three straight days over the issue.

FM Nirmala Sitharaman had on March 5 hinted that India would appeal against the award — saying it was her “duty” to appeal in cases where the nation’s sovereign authority to tax is questioned.

It is worth mentioning that the international arbitration court specifically made clear that the basis of the judgment was not a challenge India’s 2012 law, which gave the government powers to tax deals retrospectively, or India’s sovereign right to tax.