THE NATURE OF THE ACTION
1. Guinea breached two commercial agreements with Belgian security company A.D. Trade. Both agreements included arbitration clauses governed by the 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the "New York Convention"). Pursuant to these agreements, arbitral tribunals were convened by the International Chamber of Commerce's International Court of Arbitration ("ICC") in Paris, France, and those ICC tribunals found Guinea liable to A.D. Trade under those two agreements. These decisions--rendered in two separate final arbitration awards, one of which has also been reduced to a final and enforceable court judgment in France--should be recognized and enforced as a judgment by this Court.
2. In 2011, Guinea hired A.D. Trade to create a new intelligence unit for the country's newly elected President, and to provide support and training for that unit. Declaration of Cédric Fischer ("Fischer Decl.") at Ex. B ¶ 33. When Guinea failed to make the payments required by the agreement, A.D. Trade referred the dispute to arbitration before the ICC. In an award dated November 22, 2017 ("2017 Award"), the ICC tribunal found Guinea liable to A.D. Trade for a total of EUR 46,074,463 and USD 157,402.50, plus interest. Fischer Decl., Ex. B at 68-69. On December 8, 2017, a French court, the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris, France, issued an order of recognition, or "exequatur," for the 2017 Award, resulting in an enforceable French judgment ("2017 Judgment"). Fischer Decl., Ex. H at 1-2.
3. In the second agreement, also concluded in 2011, Guinea hired A.D. Trade to acquire and deliver a transport aircraft, along with ground assistance equipment, and to train pilots and other personnel. Fischer Decl., Ex. Q ¶¶ 78, 92. Again, Guinea failed to make the payments required by the agreement. After A.D. Trade and Guinea agreed on a superseding agreement, Guinea once more failed to make the required payments. A.D. Trade referred this dispute to arbitration before the ICC as well, and an ICC tribunal again issued an award, dated February 3, 2020 ("2020 Award," and together with the 2017 Award, the "Awards"), finding Guinea liable to A.D. Trade for another USD 5,293,854.00. Fischer Decl., Ex. Q at 57-58.
4. In the years since the two ICC tribunals made the Awards, Guinea has paid nothing to A.D. Trade, who now brings this action to enforce the Awards in this District. Fischer Decl. ¶ 26. Because Guinea may assert as an affirmative defense that, with respect to the 2017 Award, this action is brought outside the three-year period for recognizing foreign arbitration awards under the Federal Arbitration Act, see 9 U.S.C. § 207, A.D. Trade also seeks recognition of the French court's 2017 Judgment under the District of Columbia's Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act of 2011, D.C. Code §§ 15-361, et seq. ("D.C. Recognition Act").
5. Although Guinea is a foreign state, it is not immune from jurisdiction in this action to confirm the Awards and, by extension, to recognize the 2017 Judgment based on the 2017 Award. Guinea entered into binding agreements to arbitrate the parties' disputes that are governed by the New York Convention, which means that two separate exceptions to Guinea's sovereign immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act ("FSIA") apply: the waiver exception and the arbitration exception. 28 U.S.C. § 1605(a)(1), (6).