East Timor Kicks Out Judges Over ConocoPhillips Tax Fight
MELBOURNE, Nov 5 (Reuters) - East Timor has ordered five foreign judges out of the country after a court ruled in favour of U.S. oil and gas producer ConocoPhillips in cases tied to $236 million in disputed tax assessments.
ConocoPhillips operates the Bayu Undan gas field in the Timor Sea between East Timor and Australia. Royalties and taxes from the field are the main source of revenue for East Timor, one of the world's poorest nations.
The young country, which won independence from Indonesia in 2002, had hired international judges and prosecutors to beef up its judicial system, but Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has been unhappy about the rulings on the tax cases, among other issues.
The government's move on the judiciary raises concerns about the rule of law in East Timor, which needs foreign companies to develop its oil and gas resources.
An East Timor embassy spokeswoman in Canberra, Australia, confirmed on Wednesday that five judges and two prosecutors had been ordered to leave the country on Tuesday. She said it was not yet clear when they would depart.
ConocoPhillips has challenged the government in 28 cases over tax assessments that were higher than what the company says it owes, and has won all seven that have been decided so far.
The government's move to expel the judges and prosecutors was done according to the law to "protect the interests of our people", East Timor Foreign Minister Jose Luis Guterres said in an interview on Australian Broadcasting Corp radio.
View Full Article
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.
Operates 4 Offshore Rigs
- Chevron Starts LNG Output at Australia's Wheatstone (Oct 09)
- Global LNG: Faltering Supply Prompts Short-Covering Price Rally (Aug 11)
- Woodside Sees Output Growing 15 Pct Over Next Three Years (May 23)
Company: ConocoPhillips more info
Operates 12 Offshore Rigs
- Most US Gulf Oil Output Offline Ahead of Tropical Storm Nate (Oct 06)
- U.S. Gulf Oil Producers Start Evacuating Staff Ahead of Tropical Storm Nate (Oct 05)
- For ConocoPhillips, Harvey A Test Of Remote Operations (Sep 07)