On March 30, 2022, Foley Hoag LLP obtained an important victory for its client Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (“BTRC”), by securing the dismissal of a case brought by plaintiff, Nayeem Chowdhury, against BTRC and Veon Ltd.
The dispute arose from an auction of a spectrum bandwidth license in Bangladesh. Mr. Chowdhury alleged breach of contract and fraud arising from a spectrum auction held by BTRC involving WorldTel Bangladesh Limited (“WorldTel”). He sought damages in the amount of at least US$2.39 billion. Chowdhury filed the action despite the fact that WorldTel, a non-party company in which Chowdhury is allegedly an investor, had already commenced arbitration proceedings against BTRC in Bangladesh, disputing the results of the auction.
The court granted BTRC’s motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds, concluding that BTRC was an “agency or instrumentality of a foreign state” under the FSIA and that no exception applied to allow plaintiff’s suit to proceed against BTRC, and therefore dismissed all of Chowdhury’s claims against BTRC without prejudice due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Foley Hoag attorneys Derek Smith, Andrew Schwartz, Christina Hioureas and Laura Gradel represented BTRC, with assistance from Samanta Kolenovic, as well as Barrister Moin Ghani of Alliance Laws.