Cairn Energy gets right to seize Indian assets in tax row
UK oil firm Cairn Energy has slotxo gained the right to seize Indian state assets in France worth more than €20m (£17m) as part of a long-running tax row.
A French tribunal ordered a freeze on about 20 properties in central Paris as Cairn increases pressure on the Indian government over disputed tax claims.
Cairn said it wanted an "amicable settlement" in the $1.2bn (£870m) row.
Sources said the Indian government would seek "legal remedies" when it received notice from the French court.
Edinburgh-based oil and gas exploration firm Cairn Energy is in dispute with the Indian government over a 2014 retrospective tax bill, when the country's tax office seized a 10% stake in Indian operations that Cairn was trying to sell.
Cairn took the issue to an international tribunal, which awarded the company $1.7bn in costs and damages in December 2020. The Indian government has appealed against this.
However, the energy firm has been identifying assets that it would seize in the absence of a settlement, including some belonging to Air India.
The award by the French court is "a necessary preparatory step to taking ownership of the properties and ensures that the proceeds of any sales would be due to Cairn", the company said.
David Nisbet, director for group corporate affairs at Cairn Energy, told the BBC's Today programme: "It is a long-running story unfortunately, and one we wished hadn't actually taken place.
"Clearly what we want to do is find an agreed amicable settlement with the government of India," he said. "But this is all just part of a process of saying: 'Look India, we need to earnestly engage', but we also have a fiduciary duty to protect the rights of our shareholders."
He said that more than six months after the ruling by the international tribunal, despite discussions in Delhi on two occasions, India has not said it will honour it.