EFE/14ymedio, London, 1 February 2023 — The National Bank of Cuba (BNC) and the Republic of Cuba have begun their final arguments this Wednesday in the trial in London against the CRF investment fund to settle the ownership of the 72 million euro sovereign debt that it claims.
Attorney Alison Macdonald has refuted one by one the legal arguments raised since January 23 by CRF, which this afternoon will do the same with the Cuban position, before both have the right to reply on Thursday.
Macdonald reiterated that the transfer to the fund of the contractual rights to that debt which, until then, was managed by the ICBC Standard Bank, was “defective.” It was authorized on November 25, 2019 by former BNC director of operations Raúl Olivera Lozano, who has testified that he himself failed to comply with the procedures.
The lawyer asked Judge Sara Cockerill of the commercial division of the London High Court to “reject” CRF’s allegation that Olivera’s 13-year sentence in May 2021 was “a farce” for allegedly accepting a bribe of Jeetkumar Gordhandas, a consultant to the investment group registered in 2009 in the Cayman Islands.
“There is no evidence, much less admissible evidence in this trial, that supports the allegation that the Cuban sentence and the investigation processes and the trial that led to it proceeded on the basis of false or invented evidence,” Macdonald said.
The lawyer added that “there is no evidence” to “challenge the honesty” of the Cuban authorities who, after receiving another request from CRF in November 2020, expressly denied the reassignment of the debt, considering that it was a “vulture fund” focused on claiming its payment through the court.
Her colleague Anton Dudnikov then questioned “the experience” and rigor of the testimony offered to CRF by the Spanish-based Cuban lawyer Hossana Rodríguez Calvo, who did not hide “her feelings against the Cuban regime,” and pointed out that his own legal expert, Juan Mendoza, was more reliable.
The Cuban Minister of Justice, Oscar Silvera, arrived in the United Kingdom on Tuesday to witness the last sessions of the trial. “I’m in London. I will participate in the final days of the hearing at the High Court of England. We defend the truth: Banco Nacional and Cuba confirm that CRF has not been and is not its creditor,” he wrote on Twitter.
The parties are expected to conclude their arguments on Thursday, when the magistrate will indicate the approximate date on which she could pronounce her ruling, which may take weeks.
Once it is known, the parties can appeal, so the process could be extended in time.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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