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Glencore awarded just $19 million by tribunal in Colombia lawsuit

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Glencore awarded just $19 million by tribunal in Colombia lawsuit
FILE PHOTO: The logo of commodities trader Glencore is pictured in front of the company's headquarters in Baar, Switzerland, July 18, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann   -   Copyright  Arnd Wiegmann(Reuters)
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BOGOTA (Reuters) – A World Bank tribunal has ordered Colombia to repay a $19 million (15.5 million pounds) fine it levied on Glencore’s <GLEN.L> coal mining subsidiary Prodeco but declined the company’s petition for $575 million in damages, the government said on Tuesday.

Prodeco is one of the largest coal miners in the Andean country, which is the world’s fifth-biggest exporter of coal.

Glencore had asked the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes to award it damages after Colombia’s national comptroller fined it the $19 million in January 2016.

The comptroller said the company had incorrectly calculated the royalties it should have paid on its Calenturitas contract, revoking the agreement. The comptroller then fined Prodeco for not complying with the terms of the contract.

“The tribunal only ordered the return of the $19.1 million plus interest and rejected all of the other demands – confirming its confidence in the integrity and the institutions of the comptroller and Colombian judges,” Colombia’s national agency for judicial defense of the state said in a statement.

In its decision, the tribunal said the comptroller’s conduct in calculating the damage caused by the contract problems was “unreasonable” and had “impaired (Glencore’s) investment in Colombia.”

Prodeco said in a statement it was important the dispute had been resolved and that it hoped to continue to develop its long-term investments in Colombia.

Colombia must also pay interest on the fine and reimburse the company for $1.69 million in legal expenses, the tribunal said.

(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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