Olexander Martinenko, Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution at Kinstellar's Kyiv office, was recently instructed as a Ukrainian expert witness by a successful claimant – Olympic Entertainment Group (OEG) – in a UNCITRAL investment arbitration case against Ukraine.

OEG filed its claim in 2018 seeking damages over the regulatory closure of its casino business in Ukraine. Following a 2009 ban on gambling imposed by the government, OEG's four Ukrainian subsidiaries went into liquidation.

A UNCITRAL tribunal has ordered Ukraine to pay EUR 7.5 million in damages to OEG over its ban on gambling businesses that was imposed “overnight”. In an award issued on 15 April 2021, the tribunal upheld claims by OEG against Ukraine for indirect expropriation under the 1995 Estonia–Ukraine bilateral investment treaty.

In its 82-page award, the tribunal rejected Ukraine's submission that the BIT was not applicable to OEG's investments. The state alleged that OEG had failed to obtain licences and trading patents for its network of over 20 gambling halls and casinos from the Kiev authorities, but the tribunal ruled that it was “crystal clear” that OEG's investment of at least EUR 47 million was lawful under Ukrainian law.

Olexander Martinenko was instructed by the Ukrainian law firm Aequo and Luis Gonzalez Garcia of Matrix Chambers in London, which represented OEG.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.