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Article

28 Aug 2016

Author:
Chris Hamby, BuzzFeed

Inside The Global “Club” That Helps Executives Escape Their Crimes

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Imagine a private, global super court that empowers corporations to bend countries to their will…Imagine that a company could turn to this super court and sue the whole country for daring to interfere with its profits, demanding hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars as retribution…[I]magine that the penalties this court has imposed have been so crushing — and its decisions so unpredictable — that some nations dare not risk a trial, responding to the mere threat of a lawsuit by offering vast concessions, such as rolling back their own laws…Known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, it is written into a vast network of treaties that govern international trade and investment…Companies and executives accused or even convicted of crimes have escaped punishment by turning to this special forum…ISDS has morphed from a rarely used last resort, designed for egregious cases of state theft or blatant discrimination, into a powerful tool that corporations brandish ever more frequently, often against broad public policies that they claim crimp profits…[E]ven some supporters of ISDS now worry that the system has been misused to help the powerful evade justice and to hold hostage the economy of a nation still in turmoil...[Refers to Bank Century & Damac Properties].