Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Ghasb, the last Gasp

The $416 million dollar Superior Court Judgment in favor of ExxonMobil still stands despite the slew of Post-Trial Motions filed by SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation). In summary, the Court ruled that SABIC had usurped $92 million dollars of ExxonMobil’s shares of overcharges. SABIC still insists that they did not usurp the money because they did not “act forcefully”, yet the U.S. Court found them guilty of the Saudi Law doctrine of ghasb, which was defined by the Court as exercising ownership over another’s property without consent, wrongfully. With the first SABIC Motion being filed four days late, and consequently being denied, SABIC was not off to a good start. SABIC, which passionately argued that this case should be tried in the United States, was quoted in their Second Motion as stating that “no American Judge is qualified to interpret and apply Saudi Law.”

In the numerous Motions filed, SABIC implies that no Saudi Court would have ruled in favor of ExxonMobil. How does SABIC know? After all, under Saudi Law, no Court decisions are public, nor are they open for research. SABIC persistently stated in their numerous Post-Trial Motions that the Court defined ghasb, (equivalent to usurpate), incorrectly, and subsequently had their Islamic Law expert submit an Affidavit to “reiterate” his opinion. The Court notes that the correct time to submit such an Affidavit would have been March 7, 2003, when the Court held a Hearing for the full day to discuss Saudi Law Issues. Finally, to end it’s Post Trial Motion Series with a bang, SABIC then referred back to the $416 million dollars in damages, and it’s rare occurrence in Saudi Law. (Once again, I refer you to the very non-public Saudi Law.) SABIC has exhausted all of its options, and thus the end of the Post-Trial Motion frenzy.

Stefanie Biddle

No comments: