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国际投资仲裁的腐败抗辩问题

更新时间:2018-04-12 11:20:48  张振安 临时仲裁ADA 编辑:lianluobu  点击次数:313次

英文单词

1.   overarching objective:总体目标

2.   usual scenario:通常情况(剧情)

3.   Police:管辖

4.   Perpetrate:vt. 犯(罪);做(恶)

5.   Antithetical:对立

6.   Inconceivable:adj. 不可思议的;难以置信的;不能想象的;

7.   Asymmetry:不对称,不对等

8.   Exonerate:使免罪,免除

9.   unjustly enriched:不当得利

10.municipal law:国内法

11.treaty consent:条约共识

12.adjudication:判决

13.legality requirement:合法性要求

14.bears on:对…施加压力;与…有关;对…有影响;瞄准

15.ratione materiae:属物原则 ; 属物事由 ; 属物效力 ; 属事管辖

16.squarely:adv. 直角地;诚实地;正好;干脆地;正当地

17.concession:n. 让步;特许(权);承认;退位

18.complicit:adj. 有同谋关系的,串通一气的

19.exculpated:vt. 开脱;使无罪

20.skewed:adj. 歪斜的;曲解的

21.circumstantial evidence:间接证据

22.extort:vt. 敲诈;侵占;强求;牵强地引出

23.consummate:adj. 至上的;完美的;圆满的;vt. 完成,使达到极点

24.principle of attribution:归责原则

25.impute:vt. 归罪于,归咎于;嫁祸于

26.enshrine:vt. 铭记,珍藏;把…置于神龛内;把…奉为神圣

27.preclusive:adj. 妨碍的;除外的;预防的

28.drastic:adj. 激烈的;猛烈的;n. 烈性泻药

29.redress:vt. 救济;赔偿;纠正;重新调整;n. 救济;赔偿;矫正

30.licit basis:合法基础

31.equitable balancingexercise:公平平衡行为


 正  文


双边投资条约(“BITs”)的总体目标是通过对投资者的有效保护机制,促进东道国的外商投资。在投资相关的纠纷中,常见的情况是,投资者通过投资者-东道国仲裁对东道国提起索赔。因此,投资条约仲裁经常被作为一种工具,以确定相关条约下当事人的责任和投资者享有实质性保护的权利。然而,近几年来,东道国通过援引腐败抗辩对抗投资者索赔的投资案件呈稳步上升趋势。抗辩包括普遍性的指控,即投资时和投资项目的经营过程中存在腐败,从而对抗该投资引起的任何索赔。在多数案件中,仲裁庭认可腐败抗辩构成了对其管辖权的全面障碍,在这种情况下仲裁庭拒绝审理索赔的实体问题,尽管腐败行为也涉及到国家机构。在一个案件中,仲裁庭认为,尽管其腐败问题没有管辖权,但是也无法保护存在腐败行为的一方当事人的利益。

这种做法受到强烈批评,因为会激励东道国实施腐败计划,以为将来援引腐败抗辩对抗投资者奠定基础。不难想象,这种趋势一般可以鼓励东道国利用投资条约制度,以逃避他们在条约下的义务。处理投资争议的仲裁庭因腐败事由而拒绝行使管辖权的理由同样被视为与投资关系的互惠原则背道而驰,这种原则要求投资者和东道国之间的利益保持平衡。因此,当仲裁庭在管辖阶段发现同时涉及投资者和国家的腐败而驳回投资条约的索赔,就会造成不对称情况,这种情况中,享有潜在的合法投资索赔权的投资者会受到惩罚,反而国家被免除违反条约义务应当承担的责任,甚至取得不当得利。这种不对称情况可能会破坏投资条约制度,并产生一个结果,对没有其他救济的投资者造成侵害。相反,仲裁庭不可能在仲裁程序的任何阶段忽略腐败,这样做可能会损害国内法和条约共识。

从广义上讲,本文将分析东道国在投资条约索赔管辖阶段成功援引腐败抗辩的影响。首先,介绍投资仲裁庭采取腐败抗辩采用的方法。然后,解释为什么支持腐败抗辩的趋势必然导致投资者和东道国之间的不对称待遇。

管辖抗辩的逻辑框架

当面临投资发展过程存在腐败的指控时,仲裁庭要么拒绝行使管辖权,要么裁定不予受理投资索赔。采用这种途径,仲裁庭一般首先会查看双边投资条约的相关文本,以确定投资索赔是否属于条约的争议范围。仲裁庭通常会对双边投资条约的“合法性要求/条款”进行分析。合法性条款要求基础投资应“根据当地法律”进行,以便得到条约赋予的保护。仲裁庭在Gustav Hamester v. Ghana一案中认为:“很明显,国家可特别明确规定允许投资者选择争议解决机制或可获实质性保护的条件,其中一个常见的条件是明确要求投资必须符合东道国的国内法律。”

尽管这一问题仍然存在争议,但逐步形成的共识是,合法性条款影响仲裁庭的管辖权,而不是案件是非曲直的实质性辩护。仲裁庭基于以下前提赞同这一观点,即非法投资并非受到双边投资条约保护的投资。这也是Fraport v. Philippines一案仲裁庭拒绝对争议行使管辖权的争论焦点。尽管该案没有直接涉及腐败问题,但是由于投资者违反了东道国有关外国投资者在公共事业领域所有权的法律,没有“依法投资”,因此,裁定其不具有任何属事管辖权。其强调,为了确定管辖权,判例法中渐趋一致性的观点支持如下立场,即投资的合法性影响着仲裁庭的管辖权(与在履行投资过程中的非法行为相反)。在Gustav Hamester一案中,仲裁庭对这个问题作出了公正裁决“该双边投资条约的措辞是,投资的合法性涉及管辖权问题,投资者在长期投资期间投资行为的合法性是实体性问题。”类似地,仲裁庭在Alasdair Ross Anderson, et al.v. Costa RicaAlpha Projekt holding v.Ukraine以及 Ioannis Kardassopoulus v. Georgia这些案件中认为合法性条款是管辖权的一个要件。所有这些案件均认为,作出投资时的非法行为将使仲裁庭丧失管辖权,并导致驳回索赔。

以上述理论框架为基础,从管辖权的角度说明,即非法性是否影响仲裁的合意,或从基础投资合同索赔的可执行性,说明仲裁庭如何处理腐败问题。

·        Inceysa v. El Salvador

该案涉及关于车辆检验服务的特许经营,据称西班牙投资者Inceysa以欺骗的手段获得了该许可。仲裁庭主要以缺乏合意为理由拒绝了管辖权。其发现相关条约中的某些条款要求根据东道国法律进行投资,萨尔瓦多在BIT中仅限于此类投资。因此,“争议是因超越双方合意的非法投资引起的,因此不受仲裁庭的管辖”。

·        Metal Tech v. Uzbekistan

投资人MetalTech和数个国有企业在乌兹别克斯坦投资的合资企业最终被政府发布一项决议后被清算,该政府取消了合资企业的某些专属权。仲裁庭查明该投资涉及行贿问题。仲裁庭一致裁决,根据双边投资条约和ICSID公约规定,乌兹别克斯坦政府并不认可该投资行为,因此仲裁庭没有管辖权。仲裁庭认为,投资者向乌兹别克政府官员和时任乌兹别克斯坦总理的兄弟支付的款项违反了在乌兹别克斯坦投资法律。因此,投资不符合双边投资条约的要求,即投资应合法,因此根据争议条约仲裁庭无权审理该索赔。仲裁庭还裁定,鉴于投资的非法性质,投资者就投资的索赔并未经乌兹别克斯坦同意。尽管仲裁庭驳回了该索赔,但由于被申请人国家暗暗地参与了贿赂,仲裁庭裁决各自承担各自的费用。在裁决中,仲裁庭承认该国参与了导致索赔被驳回的贿赂行为。

·        World Duty Free v. Kenya

仲裁庭查明投资者向肯尼亚总统行贿,以获得在肯尼亚机场建造和经营免税商店的权利。投资者对付款行为没有提出异议,但声称该付款为礼物性质,根据肯尼亚文化属于合法行为。仲裁庭驳回了该索赔,并裁定由于贿赂违反了国际公共政策,因此不支持基于腐败获得的合同索赔。仲裁庭进一步认为,贿赂不能归因于肯尼亚,因为即使贿赂是向国家元首支付,但由于是秘密支付,并非履行公务时支付。

·        EDF v. Romania

投资者EDF向罗马尼亚提出了一项索赔,主要是指称,在EDF董事长拒绝支付罗马尼亚政府官员代表罗马尼亚时任总理提出的贿赂请求后,很多国有企业合谋侵害其投资。仲裁庭一致同意驳回投资者对罗马尼亚的所有索赔请求,认为EDF未能提供明确和令人信服的证据,以证明代表罗马尼亚政府索贿的事实。

结果:投资者和东道国之间的不对称性条约

腐败玷污基本投资的事实背景下,上述判例法的分析论证了投资仲裁庭倾向于在仲裁程序开始时就驳回索赔,通常是基于非法投资,或基于缺乏合意或是基于违反国际公共政策。由于这往往发生在仲裁庭的管辖阶段,可以很容易地得出结论:公认的受害投资者实际上在案件被驳回的同时,其所有的救济均被驳回了。这种方法忽视了对投资者保护的考虑,并造就了投资者与东道国之间待遇的不对称性,而这正是双边投资条约寻求避免的。

首先,在处理管辖权异议时,尽管国家和投资者可能都共谋参与了腐败行为,但是仲裁庭并没有考虑国家参与或默认非法行为的关联性。在 World Duty Free一案中,仲裁庭查明“显然是肯尼亚总统索贿”,贿赂的存在为投资者对肯尼亚提出的所有索赔提供了全面的抗辩。因此,拒绝管辖时,仲裁庭仅制裁了投资者的行为,而完全免除了国家责任。仲裁庭甚至没有要求东道国起诉投资者,以便使他们提出的腐败抗辩获得支持。仲裁庭在Metal Tech中基于其对腐败的查明拒绝了管辖权,尽管没有证据表明东道国正试图对政府官员和有腐败行为的个人提起公诉。同样,在World Duty Free一案中,仲裁庭驳回了投资者的索赔请求,尽管其查明“令人不安”的是,索贿的人是肯尼亚总统,并确切指出,肯尼亚在仲裁程序进行之时并没有试图对没有豁免权的时任总统提起公诉。

其次,举证责任分配不平衡以及投资者与东道国之间适用的证明标准也存在不平衡。在Metal Tech一案中,仲裁庭认识到很难证明腐败,在此基础上,其裁定仅根据间接证据就足以使国家达到证明存在腐败的合理确定性标准。另一方面,在EDF一案中,仲裁庭要求明确和令人信服的证据(对投资者提出了一个更高的举证责任)。仲裁庭认为,考虑到管辖权的查明是一个门槛问题,需要有很高的证明标准,腐败指控只有在腐败玷污投资的证据是清楚无异议的情况下才和处理争议有关联。在这一标准下,法庭不采信:各种证人证言,不相信与被指控的索贿同步的索贿书面电子邮件和口头索贿的音频记录。

仲裁庭对投资者为追究东道国责任而负有的举证责任附加的标准不一致。在World Duty Free一案中,仲裁庭要求投资者证明东道国在腐败方面存在共谋,而不仅是由相关官员进行的秘密行为。考虑到腐败行动的形式往往是非常隐蔽的,这是一种不切实际且近乎不可能的举证责任。在EDF案件中,仲裁庭要求提供腐败行为不只是为索取贿赂之人的个人利益而作出的证据,而是要证明该行为“代表或为外国官员所在的政府”。基于这样的原因,既然腐败本质上是诉诸于个人利益,那么东道国为腐败负责无论如何也不能令人信服。

第三,仲裁庭在腐败问题上适用归责原则的方式,显然偏向于东道国。目前没有一个国际投资仲裁的案例是东道国就涉及其政府官员的腐败承担责任的。如学者指出的那样,在这种情况下“从外国投资者处索取、敲诈贿赂的公共官员的行为[理论上]可归责于国家;但当索贿被接受了,投资者作出的行贿可归于其代理人的行为,但公共官员的腐败却不能归责于国家。”因此,在World Duty Free一案中,仲裁庭拒绝将国家知晓的腐败行为归咎于国家,裁定由于总统在履行其职务范围外秘密受贿,因此该腐败不能归咎于肯尼亚。这一裁决完全无视了有关国家责任的国际法委员会章程中规定的国家对机关越权行为负责的国际习惯法。它也和Waguih v. Egypt 一案中的裁决不符,即任何国家机关的行为应视为国家的行为,即使其超越了该机关的权限。另一方面,公司代理人的行为几乎总是可归咎于公司实体,从而剥夺了其在合同中的权利以及条约保护。

第四,仲裁庭倾向于不对称地处理腐败指控。基于司法趋势,当东道国援引腐败抗辩时,仲裁庭会从管辖权的角度驳回投资索赔。因此,在涉及腐败的情况下,几乎不可能进入到仲裁程序中实体问题审理阶段。当然,投资者对东道国涉嫌腐败的任何指控都不会成功推翻投资者在同一案件也有腐败之过的事实。相反,在投资者指控存在腐败情形的情况下,仲裁庭将此问题视为公平公正待遇(FET)的索赔,而不是作为管辖权的问题。在EDF案件中,仲裁庭认为“根据双边投资条约规定,东道国代表要求贿赂违反其对申请人负有的公平公正待遇的义务…”,因此,查明东道国的腐败事实上与投资索赔几乎没有任何关联性,没有除外效力。东道国可能仍利用腐败事实来挑战仲裁庭对其他违反双边投资条约行为的管辖权。

结  论

足以说明:腐败抗辩已成为东道国在投资者通过腐败方式获得合同提起索赔的有力工具。仲裁庭在解决腐败问题上采取的激烈和片面的做法实际上消除了所有有利于投资者的公平考量。当仲裁庭认为投资被腐败玷污时,仲裁程序的任何合法依据都会消失。这不仅给被剥夺可充分获得投资条约保护的投资者带来有害的后果,而且还很大程度上激励了国家滋生腐败文化以逃避其违反对投资者的义务而产生的责任,或以其他方式从自己的不当行为中获利。最终,这一结果剥夺了双边投资协议保护和促进外国投资的核心目的,因为投资者被剥夺了东道国侵犯他们权利而寻求救济的一个有效手段。

 

对投资者和国家之间的不对称待遇提出的建议是对腐败进行细致处理,并在实体审理阶段解决腐败指控。与管辖权方法不同,这将使仲裁庭实施考虑东道国对投资者不当行为参与的“公平平衡行动”,例如,使国家承担责任。正如Fraport一案中持异议的仲裁员所提出的,将违法问题作为实体问题处理可以使仲裁庭平衡投资者和东道国之间的不当行为。东道国在某些方面提高腐败抗辩能力也会有些明显的好处,例如,一个国家证明其已采取了打击腐败的措施,这包括起诉腐败的政府官员。

 

【英文原文】

The Corruption Defence:An Asymmetrical Treatment Between the Investor and the Host State

The overarching objective for bilateral investment treaties (“BITs”) is the promotion of foreign investment in the host State by way of ensuring a mechanism for the effective protection of the investor. Inthe context of investment-related disputes, the usual scenario is that of an investor lodging a claim against a host State through investor-state arbitration. Investment treaty arbitration is thus often utilised as a tool to determine the parties’ liabilities and the investor’s entitlement to substantive protection under the relevant treaty. However, recent years have seen a steady rise in investment treaty cases where host States have defeated a claim by the investor by invoking the defence of corruption. The defence consists of ageneral allegation that corruption attended the formation and performance of the investment, thereby precluding any claims arising from it. In most of these cases, the acceptance by the tribunal of the corruption defence has operated as a complete bar to jurisdiction, in which the tribunal had refused to hear the merits of the claim notwithstanding that the corrupt act involved a State agent.In a case, the tribunal reasoned that, although it is not mandated to police corruption, it cannot afford protection to a party that has resorted to a corrupt act.

This approach has been highly criticised as incentivising host States to perpetrate a corruption scheme in order to lay the basis for the future invocation of the corruption defence against an investor in their territory.It is not difficult to imagine how, generally, this trend may encourage host States to exploit the investment treaty regime in order to evade their obligations under a treaty. The reasoning of the investment tribunal behind its refusal to exercise jurisdiction on account of corruption has likewise been perceived as antithetical to the reciprocal nature of investment relationships which requires a balancing of interests between the investor and the host State.Thus, when a tribunal rejects an investment treaty claim at the jurisdictional stage on a finding of corruption involving both the investor and the State, an asymmetry is created where in the investor with potentially legitimate investment claimsis penalised, and the State is exonerated from any liability arising from breach of its treaty obligations and even, unjustly enriched.This asymmetry potentially undermines the investment treaty regime, and yields a result that is exclusively detrimental to the investor who virtually has no other recourse to pursue its claim.In contrast, it would be inconceivable for tribunals to ignore corruption at any stage of the arbitral proceeding, and to do so may undermine municipal lawand treaty consent.

Broadly, this essay will analyse the impact of a successful invocation by the host State of a corruption defence at the jurisdictional phase of an investment treaty claim. First, it will describe the approach adopted by investment tribunals in addressing the corruption defence.Then, it will explain why the trend of upholding the corruption defence invariably amounts to an asymmetrical treatment between the investor and the host State.

The Analytical Framework of the Jurisdictional Approach

When confronted with a claim that corruption took place in the development of an investment, tribunals will either decline to exercise jurisdiction,or rule that the investment claim is inadmissible.Using this approach, the tribunal will generally first look at the text of the relevant BIT to ascertain whether the investment claim falls under the range of disputes that are subject to adjudication under the treaty. The tribunal will often start its analysis with the “legality requirement / clause” of the BIT.The legality clause requires the underlying investment to be made “in accordance with local laws” in order to be afforded the protection envisaged under the treaty. In the language of the tribunal in Gustav Hamester v. Ghana, “it is clearthat States may specifically and expressly condition access of investors to achosen dispute settlement mechanism, or the availability of substantive protection. One such common condition is an express requirement that the investment comply with the internal legislation of the host State.”

Although the matter remains controversial, the emerging consensus is that the legality clause bears on the tribunal’s jurisdiction,rather than as a substantive defence related to the merits.Tribunals that share this view proceed from the premise that an illegal investment is not aninvestment within the meaning of, and as sought to be protected by, the BIT inquestion.This was the bone of contention of the tribunal in the case of Fraport v. Philippines in refusing to exercise jurisdiction over the dispute. While the case did not directly involve the issue of corruption, the tribunal ruled that, because there was a breach of the local law on foreign ownership of a public utility,there was no “investment in accordance with law” to speak of and, therefore, itdid not have any jurisdiction ratione materiae.It bears emphasis that,for purposes of ascertaining jurisdiction, there is some consistency in caselaw that supports the proposition that only legality at the initiation of the investment (in contrast to illegality during the performance of the investment)bears on the tribunal’s jurisdiction. In Gustav Hamester, the tribunal ruled squarely on this issue; thus, “on the wording of this BIT, the legality of the creation of the investment is a jurisdictional issue; the legality of the investor’s conduct during the life of the investment is a merits issue.”Similarly, the tribunal in the cases of Alasdair Ross Anderson, et al. v. Costa Rica,Alpha Projektholding v.Ukraine,and Ioannis Kardassopoulusv. Georgia held that the legality clause is an element of jurisdiction. All these cases consistently and broadly recognised that illegality in the making of the investment will deprive the tribunal of jurisdiction and lead to the dismissal of the claim.

Building on the foregoing doctrinal framework, the cases below will illustrate how tribunals have dealt with the issue of corruption,either from the viewpoint of jurisdiction if the illegality affects the consent to arbitrate, or the enforceability of claims arising from the underlying investment contract.

·        Inceysav. El Salvador

The case involved a concession for vehicle inspection services alleged to have been fraudulently obtained by the Spanish investor Inceysa. The tribunal declined jurisdiction principally on the ground of lack of consent. It found that certain clauses in the relevant treaty require investments to be made in accordance with the laws of the host State, and the consent granted by El Salvador in the BIT is limited to such investments.Consequently, “disputes that arise from an investment made illegally are outside the consent granted by the parties and, consequently, are not subjectto the jurisdiction”of the tribunal.

MetalTech v. Uzbekistan

The joint venture involving the investor Metal Tech and state-owned companies in Uzbekistan was eventually liquidated following the issuance of a resolution by the Uzbekistan government which abrogated certain exclusive rights under the joint venture. The tribunal found that the investment structure involved the payment of bribes. The tribunal unanimously ruled that it did not have jurisdiction over the dispute on account of Uzbekistan’s lack of consent under the BIT and the ICSID Convention. According to the tribunal, payments made by the investor to an Uzbek government official and the brother of the then Prime Minister of Uzbekistan violated Uzbekistanlaw in relation to the establishment of Metal Tech’s investment in Uzbekistan.Consequently, the investment did not comply with the BIT requirement that the investment be made “in compliance with the law at the time when it was established” and therefore did not fall under the category of claims cognizable by the tribunal under the treat in question. The tribunal also ruled that, given the nature of the investment,the investor’s claims arising from such investment were not covered by Uzbekistan’s consent. Notwithstanding the dismissal of the claim, the tribunal allocated costs to each party due to the respondent State’s implicit participation in the underlying corruption. In ruling so, the tribunal recognised that the State has participated in creating the situation that ledto the dismissal of the claims.

·        WorldDuty Free v. Kenya

The tribunal found the investor to have paid a bribe to the then President of Kenya for the right to build and operate duty free stores at Kenyan airports. The investor did not dispute the existence of the payment,but claimed that it was in the nature of a gift that is legitimate in Kenyan culture. The tribunal dismissed the claim and ruled that, since bribery is contrary to international public policy, it cannot uphold claims based on contracts obtained by corruption. The tribunal further held that the bribe cannot be attributed to Kenya because, even though the bribe was paid to the head of state, it was paid secretly and not in the performance of his official duties.

·        EDFv. Romania

The investor EDF filed a claim against Romania,principally alleging that various state entities conspired to attack its investment after EDF’s chairman refused to pay a bribe requested by government officials on behalf of Romania’s then Prime Minister. The tribunal unanimously dismissed all the investor’s claims against Romania holding that EDF had failed to produce clear and convincing evidence that a bribe had been requested on behalf of the Romanian government.

Consequence: Asymmetrical Treatment Between Investor and Host State

Against the factual backdrop of corruption tainting the underlying investment, an analysis of the foregoing case law demonstrates the propensity of investment tribunals to dismiss a claim at the outset of the proceeding, broadly either on the ground of the illegality of the investment,lack of consent, or violation of international public policy. As this often happens at the jurisdictional phase, one can easily conclude that the putatively aggrieved investor is effectively completely denied of relief with the dismissal of the case. This approach disregards investor protection considerations, and creates an asymmetry in the treatment between the investorand the host State that BITs seek to avoid.

First, in disposing of challenges to its jurisdiction, the tribunal does not ascribe any meaningful relevance to the involvement or acquiescence of the host State in the unlawful conduct,notwithstanding that both the State and the investor may have been complicit in the corrupt act. In World Duty Free, while the tribunal found that“the bribe was apparently solicited by the Kenyan President,” the existence of the bribe provided a complete defence to all the claims lodged by the investor against Kenya. Consequently, in refusing jurisdiction at the outset, the tribunal sanctions the investor’s conduct exclusively and the State is entirely exculpated from liability. Host states have not even been required by tribunals to prosecute the investor in order to successfully raise their corruption defence.The tribunal in Metal Tech declined jurisdiction based on afinding of corruption even though there was no showing that the host State madeany effort to prosecute the government official and the individuals who perpetrated the corrupt act. Similarly, in World Duty Free, the tribunal dismissed the investor’s claim even though it found “disturbing” that the recipient of the bribe was the Kenyan President, noting precisely that there was no attempt by Kenya to prosecute its then President who, at the time of the proceedings, was no longer immune from suit.

Second, there is an imbalance in the allocation of the evidentiary burden and the application of the standard of proof between the investor and the host State. In Metal Tech, the tribunal recognised that corruption is particularly difficult to establish and, on this basis, it ruledthat mere circumstantial evidence would suffice for the State to satisfy the standard of reasonable certainty in order to prove corruption. On the other hand, in EDF, the tribunal required clear and convincing evidence – a heightened burden of proof, for the investor to satisfy. According to the tribunal, considering that the jurisdictional inquiry is a threshold question, the standard of proof should behigh and allegations of corruption are relevant to the disposition of the issue only if there is clear and uncontested evidence that corruption tainted the investment. Against this standard, the tribunal refused to lend credence to the testimony of various witnesses, an email which shows the solicitation written contemporaneously with the alleged bribe solicitation, and an audiorecording of the verbal solicitation.

Tribunals have also added inconsistent layers to the investor’s evidentiary burden in order to hold the host State responsible.In World Duty Free, the tribunal required the investor to provethat the State was complicit in the bribery and that it was not merely a covertact performed by the official concerned. This is an unrealistic and nearly an impossible burden to discharge considering that any form of corruption is almost always concealed. In EDF, the tribunal required proof that the corrupt act was not made in the personal interest of the individual soliciting the bribe, but “on behalf of and for the account of the foreign official’s government.” Against this reasoning, it is inconceivable how a State can everbe held liable for corruption since it is inherently resorted to for personal benefit.

Third, the manner in which tribunals apply the principle of attribution, in terms of responsibility for corruption, is decidedly skewed towards the host State. There is currently no case in international investment arbitration where a host State has been held responsible for corruption involving its government official. As a scholar puts it, where “a public official’s actions in soliciting or extorting bribes from foreign investors is[in theory] attributable to the host State; but when solicitation meets acceptance . . . consummated corruption binds the investor to the acts of its agent, but the corruption of the public official is not attributable to the host State.” Thus, in World Duty Free, the tribunal refusedto impute knowledge of the corrupt act to the State ruling that, since the bribe was covert and accepted by a President acting outside his official capacity, the corrupt act could not be imputed to Kenya. This ruling utterly disregards the customary international law of State responsibility for the ultra vires acts of its organs as enshrined [14] in the International Law Commission’s Articles on State Responsibility. It isalso inconsistent with the ruling laid down in Waguih v. Egypt tothe effect that the conduct of any state organ shall be considered an act ofthe state even though it exceeds the authority of that organ.  On the other hand, the actions of corporate agents are almost always imputed to the corporate entity resulting in the deprivation of its rights under a contract, as well as treaty protection.

Fourth, tribunals tend to asymmetrically treat a corruption claim in terms of the party making it. Based on jurisprudential trends, when ahost State invokes the corruption defence, tribunals dismiss the investment claim from the viewpoint of jurisdiction. Hence, where corruption is involved,it is nearly impossible to reach the merits phase of the proceeding. Necessarily,any allegation by the investor that the host State had itself engaged incorruption will never prosper against a finding that the investor was guilty of corruption in the same case.  In contrast, when it is the investor that alleges corruption, tribunals treat the issue as a fair and equitable treatment claim, and not as a matter of jurisdiction. In EDF, the tribunal held that “a request for a bribe by a State agency is a violation of the fairand equitable treatment obligation owed to the Claimant pursuant to the BIT…”Consequently, a finding of corruption on the part of the State has virtually no relevance in the investment claim, having no preclusive effect. The host State may still use the fact of corruption to challenge the jurisdiction of the tribunal for other violations of the BIT.

Conclusion

Suffice it to say, the corruption defence has emerged as a potent tool for host states to defeat investor claims in cases where the contract in question was obtained through corruption. The drastic and one-sided approach that tribunals have adopted in resolving the corruption issue practically eliminates all equitable considerations in favour of the investor. When the tribunal regards the investment as tainted with corruption,any licit basis for an arbitration proceeding disappears. This not only yields detrimental consequences for the investor who is deprived of full access to investment treaty protection; it also creates a powerful incentive for States to cultivate a culture of corruption in order to escape liability for breach of their obligations towards the investor, or otherwise to profit from their own misconduct. Ultimately, this result divests BITs of their core purpose of protecting and promoting foreign investment because investors are deprived of an effective instrument to seek redress for an infringement oftheir rights by the host State.

A suggested approach to the asymmetrical treatment between the investor and the State is a nuanced treatment of corruption and a resolution of the corruption claim at the merits stage. Unlike the jurisdictional approach, this will enable the tribunal to conduct “an equitable balancing exercise” that considers the host State’s involvement in the investor’s misconduct as would, for instance, engagestate responsibility. As the dissenting arbitrator in Fraport putsit, treating illegality as a merits issue enables the tribunal to balance the misconduct of the investor and the host State. There is also some perceived benefit in conditioning the ability of host States to raise the corruption defence on certain grounds, e.g., when a State demonstrates that it has adopted measures to combat corruption, which include the prosecution of the corrupt government officials.