American Businessman Takes First Step Toward Filing First Ever Investment Arbitration Claim Under U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement

By Emrock Llc, PRNE
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WASHINGTON, April 21, 2011 - An American businessman whose massive limestone quarry in Oman was
expropriated by that country's government has taken the first step towards
initiating the first-ever investment arbitration under the United States-Oman
Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Boston real estate entrepreneur Adel A Hamadi Al
Tamimi has served Oman with a notice of intent (NOI) to submit claims to
arbitration. If the parties are unable to resolve their differences in the
next 90 days, Mr. Al Tamimi may submit to arbitration claims that Oman has
breached obligations under the FTA, and that he is entitled to at least
US$500 million in compensation for harm arising from Oman's breaches. Mr. Al
is being represented by international law firm Crowell & Moring LLP.

The claims against Oman stem from the government's frustration of the
terms of two 25-year lease agreements entered into by its state-owned
enterprise, Oman Mining Company LLC (OMCO), and two of Mr. Tamimi's
companies, Emrock and SFOH (the Companies) in 2006. These lease agreements
provided the Companies with the unrestricted rights to mine limestone
deposits in the Buraimi region of Oman near the United Arab Emirates-Oman
border. Limestone from the Emrock and SFOH quarry was intended to support
major projects, such as the world-famous artificial Palm Islands then being
established in neighboring United Arab Emirates by the developer Nakheel

OMCO agreed to lease land to the Companies for the unrestricted limestone
mining concessions it held in the region. OMCO was required under the
agreements to obtain the necessary permits. However, OMCO failed to do so.
Despite this failure, from January to August 2007, OMCO and the Omani
Ministry of Commerce gave numerous assurances to the Companies that the
requisite permits had been obtained and instructed the Companies to commence
mining operations in September 2007.

Shortly thereafter, the Omani Environmental Ministry began to make formal
complaints to OMCO, as the holder of the mining concession, about the scope
of the Companies' mining operations. Disagreements between OMCO and the
Ministry of Commerce, on the one hand, and the Ministry of the Environment,
on the other, soon led to government interference in the Companies' operation
of the quarry. Interference in the operations and harassment of the Companies
continued into 2009, after the FTA entered into force. The harassment
culminated in the confiscation of mining facilities by Royal Omani police and
the arrest of Mr. Al Tamimi in May 2009 on charges of theft of rocks and sand
and violations of environmental regulations. Despite Mr. Al Tamimi's eventual
acquittal on all charges in June 2010, irreparable damage to his investment
already had been done. The mining operations were forcibly shut down,
equipment confiscated and sold to competitors, and employees dispersed.

Mr. Al Tamimi's claims were brought to the attention of senior Omani
officials in December 2010 in an attempt to resolve differences without the
need to pursue formal arbitration. To date, however, that effort has not
yielded any results. Given the inability to resolve the parties' differences
through informal means, Mr. Al Tamimi has started the process of availing
himself of the right afforded to foreign investors under the FTA to pursue
his claims through international arbitration. The FTA requires the United
and Oman each to afford certain protections to investors of the other.
These include protections against unlawful expropriation, nationality-based
discrimination, and unfair and inequitable treatment. The FTA also
establishes an arbitration mechanism that investors may use to enforce their
rights. In the present case, in the event the NOI does not lead to
negotiation of an amicable settlement in the next 90 days, Mr. Al Tamimi
expects to submit his claims to arbitration under the auspices of the
International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, as provided
for in the FTA.

"It is regrettable that Oman has thus far been unwilling to provide
reasonable compensation to Mr. Al Tamimi via negotiation and that we are now
forced to pursue his rights as an American investor under international law
by taking the first step towards arbitration," said Mr. Al Tamimi's counsel,
Arif Hyder Ali, the head of Crowell & Moring's International Arbitration
Group, "We look forward to Mr. Al Tamimi being fully compensated for the
damages he has suffered as a result of Oman's actions."

Editor's Notes:

About Adel A Hamadi Al Tamimi

Mr. Al Tamimi is a successful real estate developer and businessman who
is the Chairman and General Manager of Emrock Aggregate & Mining, LLC and
SFOH Limited. Born of a prominent family in the Arabian Gulf region, Mr. Al
became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1986. Since that
time, he has become a respected member of the New England business community.
He operates principally in Boston, Massachusetts and Dubai, United Arab

    Nicole Quigley


will not be displayed