In the 1980s, [Commisimpex] entered into contracts with the Republic of the Congo to perform public works and supply materials. The contracts were financed through supplier credits extended by [CCA] that were formalized through promissory notes issued by CCA and guaranteed by the Republic of the Congo. In 1992, the parties signed an agreement for the repayment over ten years in equal, consecutive monthly payments of certain outstanding debts owed to [Commisimpex] under the contracts. Article 10 provided that any disputes arising from or relating to the agreement would be resolved by final binding arbitration under the Rules of the International Chamber of Commerce ("ICC"). CCA drew up promissory notes endorsed in favor of the Company, and in 1993 the Republic of the Congo issued a series of commitment letters; each commitment letter contained an irrevocable waiver of immunity from legal proceedings or execution and a commitment to submit all disputes to ICC arbitration in Paris, France, governed by French law.
When the Congo failed to pay the promised amounts as they came due, and did not respond to [Commisimpex's] formal demand for payment, [Commisimpex] filed a request in 1998 for arbitration with the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC and the matter was submitted to arbitration. On December 3, 2000, the arbitral tribunal in Paris issued a final award in favor of [Commisimpex] ("the Award"). The Award included outstanding principal owed under the agreement, interest, penalty interest on various promissory notes, and costs. The Award was summarily confirmed by the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris on December 12, 2000, and was upheld on May 23, 2002 by the Court of Appeals of Paris after the Congo appealed to rescind the Award. The Company filed eleven judicial enforcement proceedings to enforce the Award in France, as well as 82 non-judicial bailiff actions.
[Commisimpex] also obtained judicial recognition of the Award pursuant to the New York Convention in Belgium and Sweden, but obtained no recovery on the amounts owed. On June 17, 2009, [Commisimpex] initiated proceedings pursuant to the Convention in the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice, Commercial Court in London, England [(the "English Court")]. The [English] Court entered an order on July 10, 2009, ruling that the Award was enforceable in the same manner as a judgment under section 101 of the 1996 Arbitration Act of England, and recalculating the amount due to include additional interest and other costs ("the English Judgment"). Under English law, the judgment became final, conclusive, and enforceable on March 2, 2010, and remains enforceable for six years from that date. The [English] Court amended the judgment on November 1, 2011 to account for [Commisimpex's] successful seizure of French Francs in partial satisfaction of the Award.
Shortly before, on September 2, 2011, [Commisimpex] filed a complaint in the federal court in the Southern District of New York to recognize and enforce the English Judgment under the New York Uniform Foreign Country MoneyJudgments Recognition Act, N.Y. C.P.L.R. Article 53. That court transferred the case to the federal court in the District of Columbia and the Company amended and supplemented its complaint to recognize and enforce the English Judgment under [the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act of 2011, D.C. Code § 15-361 et seq. (the "D.C. Recognition Act" or the "Act")].
Commissions Import Export S.A. v. Republic of the Congo, 757 F.3d 321, 324-25 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (internal citations omitted).
there has been opportunity for a full and fair trial abroad before a court of competent jurisdiction, conducting the trial upon regular proceedings, after due citation or voluntary appearance of the defendant, and under a system of jurisprudence likely to secure an impartial administration of justice between the citizens of its own country and those of other countries, and there is nothing to show either prejudice in the court, or in the system of laws under which it was sitting, or fraud in procuring the judgment, or any other special reason why the comity of this nation should not allow it full effect.... de Csepel v. Republic of Hungary, 714 F.3d 591, 606 (D.C. Cir. 2013) (quoting Hilton, 159 U.S. at 202-03). The party seeking recognition of a foreign judgment bears the burden of proof. Id. at 607.
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