September 17, 2019 / 11:35 AM / a month ago

U.S. hedge fund dispute with South Korea heads to arbitration

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - An international arbitration panel will hold hearings next month in the United States in a case filed by two New York-based hedge funds against the South Korean government over a 2015 Samsung merger.

Mason Capital LP and Mason Management LLC filed suits in 2018 at both the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), which resolves commercial disputes involving states, and a South Korean domestic tribunal.

Mason’s 2018 filing at South Korea’s Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism claimed at least $175 million in damages from the South Korean government.

The Netherlands-based PCA said on Tuesday it will oversee public hearings in the case in New York from Oct. 2-4. A PCA statement did not specify an amount.

Mason argued in the South Korean case that its investors suffered damages as a result of government influence over the decision of the country’s largest pension fund, the National Pension Service (NPS), which approved the $8 billion merger of Samsung affiliates Samsung C&T (028260.KS) and Cheil Industries in 2015.

The merger was at the center of a corruption scandal involving South Korean politicians and business leaders, leading to the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye and arrest of Samsung Group heir Jay Y. Lee.

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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