Spanish oil explorer Repsol YPF SA is seeking more than $10.5 billion from Argentina for seizing its assets. With more than 26 cases currently pending against Argentina at the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, Argentina is the most-sued nation on earth.
Cases seen by the World Bank's panel, known by its initials ICSID, can typically last four years or longer, said Abby Cohen Smutny, a partner with White & Case in Washington.
It is "safe to assume" that Repsol will be exploring its options under bilateral investment treaties to bring an arbitration case against Argentina that could be filed at the ICSID, Smutny said.
In an effort to enforce existing arbitration judgments, the US recently suspended Argentina's participation in a trade program that allows certain goods from developing countries to be imported duty-free.
"They (Argentina) are really encountering problems in Washington now," Carolyn Lamm, a partner with White & Case in Washington, said in a phone interview from Istanbul. "Many of the judgment creditors are very active on the Hill. I don't think that they will ultimately escape payment obligations."