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Who Represents Who

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Suescún Abogados, a leading firm for demanding and sophisticated domestic and international arbitration proceedings offers an ‘excellent’ service ‘both in opportunity and in strategy, experience, knowledge and closeness’. The boutique successfully represented Carbones del Cerrejón in an ICC international arbitration, against a Spanish-Colombian consortium (Ferrovial Agroman and Sainc Ingenieros), related to the construction of marine works and structures. The tribunal dismissed all claims brought by the consortium ($60m) and awarded all claims and damages sought by Cerrejón ($40m). Jorge Suescún, who has ‘exceptional experience and knowledge’, leads the team where Felipe Suescún, also recommended, is a key name. The firm is also acting for two Goldman Sachs subsidiaries in a multi-party international ICC arbitration relating to the transportation of coal via a railway network.

Specialist boutique Zuleta Abogados Asociados S.A.S focuses on international and domestic dispute resolution, international public law, human rights, international contracting infrastructure, oil and gas, and investment protection. The 17-strong firm brings together the experience and expertise of four seasoned and well-recognized attorneys, with over 40 years of experience as counsel, arbitrators and legal advisers to both public and private entities: Eduardo Zuleta, Gustavo Suárez, Rafael Bernal and Antonio Aljure. It is currently acting as co-counsel to Drummond Ltd and Drummond Coal Mining in a complex, $1bn-plus multi-party arbitration governed by the ICC rules, relating to rights to access and transport coal using the Colombian railway transport system. The firm is also representing Oleoducto Bicentenario de Colombia (OBC) in a dispute with Canadian company Canacol over the provisions of offtake agreements entered into by OBC and its shareholders.

Baker McKenzie S.A.S. has been representing an Asian client before an international arbitration tribunal in a dispute related to the construction of a power plant; the tribunal denied 99% of the counterparty’s claims. The firm is also giving advice on several cases concerning major infrastructure projects where conflicts have resulted in the constitution of dispute boards. Claudia Benavides, who was recently appointed President of the ICC Arbitration & ADR Commission in Colombia, leads a team whose way of working receives considerable praise. Juan Guillermo Otero and Jorge Valencia are also key members of the practice.

Botero Salazar Tobón Abogados differentiates itself through ‘the personalized service of the partner in charge, the delivery to the case and the understanding of it and its ability to handle complex issues with clarity and strategy’. The firm continued to represent Glencore Xstrata’s Colombian subsidiaries in a uniquely complex international multi-party arbitration before the ICC with an overall value above $1bn. The practice, led by highly recommended Bernardo Salazar, obtained a favourable award for Terranum in an arbitration related to breach of contract involving the sale of real estate to develop a large industrial project.

Brigard & Urrutia’s team acts for local and international clients. Luis Alfredo Barragán, with nearly 30 years’ experience, advises clients in domestic and international arbitration and co-heads the practice with Irma Rivera. Both are representing a foreign motor company in a dispute related to a commercial agency.

Covering all stages and aspects of both domestic and international arbitration proceedings, Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría represented two Colombian corporations in a $100m international arbitral dispute revolving around an allegedly breached complex EPC contract for a major energy project. Recourses are now pending. The team led by partners Héctor Hernández and Julio César González also defended a construction firm from an alleged breach of a promise-to-purchase agreement over the rights to invest in the construction and management of a hotel and a mall in the North of Colombia.

With a strong track record in construction arbitrations, Posse Herrera Ruiz continued to assist international law firm King & Spalding LLP in the cross-border ICC arbitration brought by Refinería de Cartagena (Reficar) against an American contractor for breach of an EPC contract for the $8bn construction and refurbishment of the refinery. The case is led by practice head Daniel Posse. María Lucía Posada is representing CEPSA, a Spanish oil and gas company, in a domestic arbitration filed by Termotécnica Coindustrial regarding a $12m breach of contract for the construction of oil and gas facilities. Carolina Posada is acting for the Brazilian and Colombian subsidiaries of Blau Farmaceutica in an international arbitration filed by previous minority shareholders of Blau Farmaceutica for an alleged rights infringement deriving from an alleged abuse of its dominant position in the payment of dividends.

Highly specialised in the infrastructure sector, Castro Leiva Rendón Abogados SAS handles arbitration proceedings and alternative conflict resolution mechanisms, among others. The practice lead by José Ignacio Leiva represented ETMA (Empresa De Transporte Masivo y Alimentador) in an arbitration process against Empresa De Transporte Del Tercer Milenio Transmilenio derived from the alleged obligation to return used vehicles to Transmilenio. Other clients include Metrobus, Empresas Municipales de Cali (EMCALI) and Unimetro.

Gómez-Pinzón Abogados (GPA) acts in national and international arbitration proceedings involving private and state parties such as Colombia’s hydrocarbons regulator Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos. Led by William Araque and David Araque, the practice (which also counts senior associate Natalia Castellanos also as key member), is representing state-owned entity Réficar in both an arbitration and a conciliation process relating to a $70m dispute. With a strong practice in the disputes sub-sector, the team is also representing Agrupación Guinovart in a $17m claim against the public entity that operates public transport in Medellín, which relates to the time and cost over-run of the construction of the Ayacucho light rail line.

Holland & Knight’s team, led by Alberto Zuleta, who arrived in March 2017 from Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas, is handling two of the most relevant international arbitration processes in Colombia, both of them disputed under ICC rules. Executive partner Enrique Gómez-Pinzón is currently representing a number of engineering companies in different arbitration processes in Bogota’s Chamber of Commerce, as well as acting as arbitrator in three different on-going arbitrations before ICSID.

Known for assuming cases that require strength in depth, dedication, strictness and input from partnersPalacios Lleras’ 18-strong team represents local and international companies in complex arbitration processes, both at national and international level. Recommended Hugo Palacios Mejía and Oscar Gutiérrez Herrán lead the practice, which is co-counsel to Drummond Ltd., and its subsidiary Drummond Coal Mining, in a multiparty international arbitration under ICC rules, in a dispute concerning coal transportation against a rail concessionaire. The firm is also representing two shareholders of a leading national infrastructure company in three local arbitrations, which have as common ground an abuse of rights by a majority shareholder.

DLA Piper Martinez Beltrán’s team has experience representing clients in both national and international commercial arbitration before well-known domestic arbitral institutions. Led by Camilo Martínez, with Julián Solorza in support, the practice is representing Best Luck in a $50m arbitration against Alianza Fiduciaria concerning the execution of a trust agreement, whose objective was the construction of building projects on the Caribbean coast.

Esguerra Asesores Jurídicos acts for clients in national and international arbitration tribunals in matters relating to concessions and other public contracts. Founding partner and former Secretary of Justice Juan Carlos Esguerra coordinated the government’s expert commission on domestic arbitration responsible for presenting the bill on arbitration passed by Congress. The ‘excellent’ and ‘very responsive’ team is defending the interests of Colombia Telecomunicaciones (Telefonica) in a high-profile $100m arbitral proceeding against the Ministry of Technologies to obtain the return of wireless communication service assets. The firm has also recently incorporated maritime specialist José Vicente Guzmán, formerly at his own firm, Guzmán Escobar & Asociados.

Led by telecommunications expert Gustavo Tamayo, Lloreda Camacho & Co.’s team undertakes both domestic and international arbitrations. The team is representing Mexican mobile telecoms heavyweight, America Movil, in a $2m international investment arbitration case related to a breach by the Republic of Colombia of the Colombia-Mexico Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Arrubla Devis Asociados is a dispute resolution boutique led by the former president of the Supreme Court of Justice and ‘brilliant legal mind’ Jaime Arrubla Paucar. The team has expertise in arbitration and recently represented a power generating company in an arbitral process, reaching a partial conciliation agreement, regarding the execution of a contract for the construction of the main civil works of a hydroelectric generator.

CMS Rodríguez-Azuero’s lawyers are experienced as arbitrators acting in local arbitration disputes. Founding partner and co-leader of the dispute resolution team, Sergio Rodríguez Azuero served as arbitrator in the disputes between Tecnología y Desarrollo SAS and Bancoldex. While Daniel Rodríguez, who has significant expertise in matters related to project finance and infrastructure development, served as panel chair in the disputes between Fiduciaria Bogotá (Grupo Aval) and Indecon, and Olano Ingenieria – as members of ‘Union temporal Urbe’ – in connection with a major publicly funded construction project in Bogotá.

DAC Beachcroft Colombia specialises in working with international insurers and reinsurers. The practice is co-led by Camila de la Torre, who has acted as both arbitrator and secretary in arbitration tribunals.

Garrigues is representing Frontera, Colombia’s largest private oil and gas company, in a construction arbitration dispute valued at $5m brought by a former contractor. José Miguel De La Calle and Alberto Acevedo lead the practice, which obtained a favourable resolution for Tradeco in a $100m domestic construction arbitration; and also achieved a win in ICC arbitration on behalf of a vehicle manufacturer in an alleged unlawful termination of a concession agreement.

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