JORGE SUESCÚN MELO
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Jorge has over 40 years of experience practicing law, 25 of them devoted to the field of national and international arbitration and dispute resolution
Languages:
English (Advanced)
French (Advanced) Spanish (Native)
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PROFILE
He has acted as lead counsel, arbitrator and Chairman in over 120 arbitrations under the auspices of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Chamber of Commerce of Bogota (CCB) and in ad-hoc proceedings under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Arbitration Rules. He has been designated by Colombia to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) Panel of Arbitrators and Conciliators.

Jorge is highly specialized in all aspects of Colombian domestic arbitration. He is also regularly involved in international arbitration proceedings. He has represented clients and served as chairman and arbitrator in seats as diverse as: Paris, New York, México D.F, Buenos Aires, Panamá, Santiago and Bogotá.
Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners describe Jorge as: “authoritative”; who is “respected for his vast knowledge in arbitration matters”; as a "highly sought-after arbitrator who is renowned worldwide"; and as “the key contact for international arbitration” in Colombia.
Those domestic and international arbitration proceedings involved disputes in various areas including banking, broadcasting, construction, corporate, distributorship and agency, energy, engineering, electricity and gas supply, finance, government contracts, insurance and reinsurance, joint ventures, licensing, maritime, mergers and aquisitions, post-M&A, mining and natural resources, real estate, oil & gas, sales, telecommunications, trusts, turnkey projects and general commercial disputes.

In addition, Jorge has vast experience advising companies on the design and implementation of complex commercial contracts, project financing, infrastructure projects as well as international business transactions, energy and admiralty law affairs.

Jorge is recognized by independent industry guides as an expert in his field, including the following:
Leading Lawyer
2017
International Arbitration for Colombia and Latin America
Best Lawyer of the Year
2017
Arbitration and Mediation - Bogota
Leading Lawyer
2017
Colombia - Dispute Resolution
Band 1
2016
Colombia - Dispute Resolution: Most in Demand Arbitrators
Expert in Arbitration
2015
Colombia - Expert in Commercial Arbitration
Best Lawyer of the Year
2015
Litigation in Bogota
Best of the Best
2015
Latin America
Best Lawyer of the Year
2014
International Arbitration - Colombia
Best Lawyer of the Year
2012
Arbitration and Mediation in Bogotá
recent representative matters
- Representing Carbones del Cerrejón Limited, the largest exporter of coal in Colombia, in a US$200 million ICC international arbitration related to the construction of marine works and structures.

- Defending two subsidiary companies of Goldman Sachs in a US$1.65 billion multy-party ICC international arbitration related to transport of coal through a railway network in Colombia.

- Serving as chairman in a US$130 million domestic arbitration arising out a mobile network concession

- Serving as arbitrator in a US$80 million domestic arbitration related to a highway concession contract.

- Representing Colombian and Venezuelan companies in a US$30 million domestic arbitration arising out the acquisition of shares over a concessionary company of an important highway in the Caribbean region of Colombia.
representative case experience
- Served as Chairman in Paris, in a US$370 million ICC international arbitration related to the enlargement of a thermoelectric plant in Argentina, under both Argentinean and Swiss law.

- Successfully defended Avianca, the largest airline in Colombia, in a US$190 million domestic arbitration arising out the acquisition of Avianca from Valorem. The tribunal dismissed all claims brought by Valorem.

- Successfully represented an international consortium in an international commercial arbitration held in Bogota under ICC Rules against ISAGEN, related to the construction of a hydroelectric plant, obtaining a US$70 million award. The Constitutional Court of Colombia confirmed the ICC award in its first revision ever of an international arbitration award.

- Served as Chairman in Mexico in COMMISA v PEMEX, a US$430 million ICC international arbitration related to the construction of off-shore gas plants in Campeche Bay (Mexico).This is becoming a seminal case in international arbitration since it is one of the few cases around the world which have been set aside in the seat and meanwhile enforced in a different jurisdiction (New York).

- Party-appointed arbitrator of the tribunal in Panama, in a US$1.6 billion ad hoc international arbitration (under UNCITRAL Rules) related to the construction of a subway. Such arbitration is most likely the biggest commercial arbitration ever in Colombia.

- Successfully defended Bancolombia, the largest commercial bank in Colombia, in a US$700 million domestic arbitration brought by Jaime Gilinsky et al arising out of the Bancolombia’s ADRs (American Depositary Receipt) trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Such arbitration is most likely the biggest commercial arbitration ever in Colombia (not including a public entity). The Tribunal held that Claimants’ damages were less than 3% of the amount Gilinsky sought. Such result was obtained against no fewer than five nationally recognized law firms that represented Gilinsky throughout the case.

- Successfully represented Bancolombia, the largest commercial bank in Colombia, in a domestic arbitration arising out of the acquisition of and merger with the former Banco de Colombia, obtaining a US$30 million award.

- Successfully represented Bancolombia in a US$200 million class action (arbitration) brought by its minority shareholders arising out of the acquisition of and merger with the former Banco de Colombia. The Tribunal held that Claimants’ damages were less than 4% of the amount sought. Such result was obtained against two nationally recognized law firms that represented Claimants throughout the case.

- Served as chairman in three domestic arbitrations (US$ 700 million in total) related to joint ventures agreements between the Colombian public-owned telecommunication company and international suppliers of telecommunication equipment.

- Chairman of the tribunal in a US$800 million domestic arbitration in matters related to the construction of a thermoelectric plant in Colombia under a Power Purchase Agreement.

- Chairman of the tribunal in Buenos Aires, in an ICC international arbitration related to a public construction project and financial problems arising out the so-called “corralito” laws enacted in Argentina before the economic crisis of 2001
education
- LL.M (Economic Development and Public Finance), with honors, University of Antwerp

- LL.M (Economic Law) University of Brussels

- JD Equivalent, Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá, Colombia
publications and academic experience
Jorge is the author of "Derecho Privado – Estudios de Derecho Civil y Comercial Contemporaneo" (Private Law – Studies in Contemporary Civil and Commercial Law), a leading publication in its field, and numerous articles on business law matters for various specialized publications.

Jorge has been a Lecturer on obligations, contracts, commercial law, admiralty law and finance law at Universidad del Rosario and Universidad de los Andes. He has been a speaker at numerous conferences and seminars in Colombia and abroad.
professional associations
- Designated by Colombia for a six-year period to the ICSID Panel of Arbitrators and Conciliators.

- Registered arbitrator of the arbitration center of the Chamber of Commerce of Bogota (International and domestic list)

- Chairman and founder of the Colombian Chapter of the Spanish Arbitration Club.

- Registered arbitrator for the Association of Ex-Magistrates (Asomagister).