Post-Conference Interview with Filippo Paris on Libya’s Contractual Debt Obligations
During our annual NCUSLR conference held on November 13th, 2018 in Washington DC, many participants raised questions to the speakers that we could not respond to due to time limits.
As such, we have initiated a series of follow up interviews with our conference speakers to answer these lingering questions.
As you go through these questions and answers please keep in mind that neither the questions nor answers reflect the opinions of NCUSLR.
Dr. Hani Shennib
Presenter featured in the following Interview:
Filippo Paris, Lawyer at the Superior Supreme Court, Italy
Filippo Paris studied law and forensics in Rome at La Sapienza University and Rome's “Tor Vergata” University. He was admitted as a lawyer to the Rome Bar Association in 1999. Since 2012 he has served as an attorney on the Italian Superior Supreme Court. For many years, Mr. Paris has worked with a law firm based in Rome that has been active in Libya since the 70s. He has defended the State of Libya, and various other Libyan entities including banks and embassies, in front of Italian Jurisdiction and some other European jurisdictions.
Paris presented at the 2nd Annual NCUSLR Conference on Panel III, The Libyan Economy: How to repair the damage. Topic: "Deciphering the dilemma of Libya's contractual obligations." Filippo Paris gave verbal remarks only at the conference.
Post-Conference Interview with Filippo Paris
*Preconditions for solving Libya’s contractual debt obligations include:
Libya must organize an effective technocratic apparatus composed of qualified and skilled officers (assisted by external professionals), who are really motivated to face the numerous disputes and able to understand the need to find the best solution in the interest of Libya
Enough financial resources (must be) pre-allocated. Those preconditions are indispensable as they are obvious, but unfortunately this isn't what is currently happening. In the meantime, even foreign countries should radically change their approach towards Libya and, above all, be less ambiguous
How should Libya and foreign countries solve the issue with Libya's contractual obligations? (Short and long-term steps)
In the short term (max. 6 months) Libya and any foreign country should establish a joint committee for definitively checking and certifying each other's claims. Once the final financial statement is ready, Libya should offer a reasonable percentage for final settlement; this step will have to be implemented in the medium term (max. 2 years) otherwise the longer term will not allow for closing the court disputes. In any case, both steps should be implemented through an effective due diligence on each single creditor.
Who will organize a "contractual obligation fund" and how will it be structured?
From my point of view, establishing a "contractual obligation fund" it is not easy because if we consider this fund as a new legal entity we should also consider the issues of newly established law and, maybe, not enough flexibility and proactivity. My idea is to form a Libyan committee composed of three members (one from Ministry of Finance, one from Central Bank of Libya as Treasury and one from Litigation Dept. or Supreme Judicial Council) with full proxy to verify, recognize and sign the settlement agreement creditor by creditor, country by country. For each country the committee will have a budget equivalent to the total outstanding previously checked, but the committee will be able to negotiate directly with each creditor and save as much as possible. In any case the “joint committee” must be assisted by an external law firm (possibly with specific background on Libyan disputes) that will perform the due diligence and draft the relevant settlement agreement.
Should foreign government guaranteeing bodies be involved?
I don’t think the foreign countries/governments will be happy to be involved because i) most creditors are private and commercial companies, and ii) they will be afraid to be also considered responsible in case of Libyan default. Furthermore, the creditors are extremely disappointed with their national governments because too often the interests of creditors have been sacrificed for reasons of political opportunity. Maybe, a foreign government will accept to be part of and responsible for the negotiation and settlement only if Libya will delegate the payment to the foreign state using frozen assets/funds. I do not personally agree with this option because LIA or CBL or LAFICO, etc. are independent and autonomous from the Libyan state; it may be better to allocate some “fresh” resources from oil revenue.
The views shared in this published interview reflect those of the guest contributor and not necessarily the views of the National Council on U.S.-Libya Relations.