A French court has permitted Cairn Energy, a Scottish energy company, to seize a number of Indian state-owned assets in Paris valued at around 20 million euros, according to a report in the Financial Times.
The documents by the Tribunal Judiciaire de Paris, seen by the Financial Times, allows freezing of 20 properties in Paris' 16th and 14th arrondissements (city district).
"Our strong preference remains an agreed, amicable settlement with the government of India to draw this matter to a close," Cairn is quoted saying, further stating that they had submitted "a detailed series of proposals to them since February this year". The report also Cairn saying, "However, in the absence of such a settlement, Cairn must take all necessary legal actions to protect the interests of its international shareholders."
The Government of India, however, states that it has not received a notice from any French court, but it stands ready to resort legal measures to protect its interests.
This is the latest development in a spat between the Indian government and Cairn over a taxation dispute now worth $1.7 billion, which dates back to 2012 and involves several legal twists and turns.
The story also states that Cairn has identified assets worth $70 billion worldwide, from planes to buildings, that would be pursued if the government failed to cough up the amount.
Pursuant to this development, earlier this year in May, the Financial Times also reported that Cairn Energy sued Air India - India's government-owned national carrier - in the United States in the southern district of New York. In its attempt to claw on Indian assets, Cairn's lawsuit seeks to established Air India as "the alter ego of the Republic of India and therefore jointly and severally liable for the debts and obligations of India itself". It chose to pursue the case in New York due to the jurisdiction's history in such international disputes, and it believes that if Air India's assets are exposed in the dispute, it would set a precedent.
But news reports also indicate that the British government is yet to take a stand for Cairn as the country seeks closer ties with India and looks to sign a trade deal with the Narendra Modi-led government. Post-Brexit, India is a priority trading partner for the Boris Johnson-led UK government.
What is the Cairn tax dispute?
Read the entire Cairn energy dispute concisely below: