Lawyers from Wolf Theiss and Knoetzl have successfully represented the Austrian State Printing House (Oesterreichische Staatsdruckerei, or OSD) before the International Arbitral Centre of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris in a breach of contract claim against the Republic of Kosovo.
The tribunal ruled in favor of the OSD, requiring the Republic of Kosovo to pay the Austrian high-security company slightly more than EUR 5 million, plus interest and related procedural costs.
In 2011, the OSD had won a tender from the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Kosovo to produce electronic passports for the country. According to Wolf Theiss, “while the State Printing House rendered its services in accordance with the contract, the Ministry of the Interior did not provide compensation as stipulated in the contract. A portion of the agreed upon order amount was transferred and distributed to parties other than the contractor."
Wolf Theiss reports that, “the Austrian State Printing House along with Wolf Theiss subsequently presented a description of the relevant facts to the Kosovar authorities and their diplomatic representation in the Republic of Austria. Conversations with the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Kosovo about the settlement of outstanding debts and explanations of the irregularities regarding payments to the OSD yielded no results. Instead, the Republic of Kosovo, prematurely and without justification, terminated the contract and discontinued all investigations into the vanished payments. Owing to Wolf Theiss's contacts to EULEX, these investigations were resumed. Subsequently, OSD, with Wolf Theiss, lodged a claim with the International Arbitral Centre of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris."
The arbitration team representing OSD was led by Florian Haugeneder, who became involved in the matter while a Partner and Head of International Arbitration at Wolf Theiss, before moving from the firm to join Knoetzl last winter (as reported by CEE Legal Matters on January 7, 2016). According to OSD Managing Director Reinhart Gausterer: “We are delighted by this enormous success of our legal team led by Florian Haugeneder. His outstanding advocacy and strategic thinking was at the heart of the successful award on jurisdiction and the present win on the merits. We prevailed on all heads of claim.”
Haugeneder explained: “This success was the result of our fruitful cooperation with a very professional and highly valued client. The case was very important for our client and we prevailed as a team.”
Partner Christian Mikosch, the Head of Wolf Theiss's Kosovo Desk, played a significant role in the matter as well, explaining that: "Wolf Theiss used its existing contacts to international institutions in Kosovo to make a decisive contribution to the clarification of these matters. The Dispute Resolution team at Wolf Theiss was therefore able to plan an arbitration action down to the minutest detail.”
Also representing OSD were current Wolf Theiss Senior Associate Katrin Stauber and current Knoetzl Senior Associate Judith Schacherreiter and Counsel Natascha Tunkel.