JORGE SUESCÚN MELO
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Arbitrator, Chairman of the tribunal and Counsel in major and complex international and domestic arbitrations (ICC, UNCITRAL and CCB).
Languages:
English (Advanced)
French (Advanced) Spanish (Native)
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PROFILE
He has acted as chairman of the tribunal, arbitrator and counsel in over 180 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.

Jorge is highly specialized in all aspects of Colombian domestic arbitration. He is also regularly involved in international arbitrations acting as chairman, arbitrator and counsel. Those arbitration proceedings involved diverse jurisdictions and applicable laws such as Argentina, Colombia, Chile, France, Maryland, Mexico, New York, Panama, Switzerland and Uruguay.
Chambers and Partners, Legal 500, Best Lawyers, Euromoney, Leaders League, describe him as an arbitrator “renowned worldwide,” “the best of the best in Latin America,” “Colombia’s best arbitrator,” “the best lawyer for arbitration in Colombia,” who is also “an authority in arbitration matters,” “a star”, “a very important player in this field” and “one of the doyens of Colombian arbitration.”
Those domestic and international arbitrations involved disputes in various areas including banking, broadcasting, concession contracts, construction, corporate, distributorship and agency, energy, engineering, electricity and gas supply, finance, government contracts, infraestructure, insurance and reinsurance, joint ventures, licensing, maritime, mergers and aquisitions, post-M&A, mining and natural resources, real estate, oil & gas, sales, telecommunications, TMT (telecoms, media and technology), trusts, turnkey projects and general commercial disputes.

In addition, he 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:
Band 1
2021
Colombia - Dispute Resolution: Most in Demand Arbitrators
Leading Lawyer (Band 1)
2020
Arbitration in Colombia
Leading Arbitrator
2020
Arbitrators in Colombia
Leading Lawyer
2019
International Arbitration for Colombia and Latin America
Expert in Arbitration
2019
Colombia - Expert in Commercial Arbitration
Best Lawyer of the Year
2019
Arbitration and Mediation - Bogota
Leading Lawyer
2019
Colombia - Dispute Resolution
Best Lawyer of the Year
2018
Litigation in Bogota
Best Lawyer of the Year
2015
Arbitration 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
- Serving as chairman, arbitrator and counsel in several major domestic and international commercial arbitrations.

- Arbitrator in an ICC international commercial arbitration, under Argentinian law, with the seat in Montevideo (Uruguay), between Argentinian and Spanish companies, related to the enlargement of a thermoelectric plant in Argentina.

- Representing Refinería de Cartagena in an ICC international commercial arbitration, seated in New York, under Colombian and New York law, against Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I), an EPC contractor. The dispute concerns costs and delays in connection with the construction of a refinery in Colombia (a mega-project).
representative case experience
CONSTRUCTION & INFRASTRUCTURE ARBITRATIONS

- Successfully represented China United Engineering Corporation in a domestic arbitration arising out of the construction of a thermoelectric plant in Colombia. The tribunal dismissed all claims (US$50 million) brought by Conalvias. The Tribunal ordered Conalvias to pay 95% of the costs of the arbitration proceedings.

- 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 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 Council of State of Colombia confirmed such award; being the first time it revises an international award rendered by an arbitral tribunal seated in Colombia. In addition, 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 platforms 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$1600 million ad hoc international arbitration (under UNCITRAL Rules) related to the construction of a subway. At the moment such arbitration was the biggest commercial arbitration ever in Colombia.

- Served as chairman in a US$120 million domestic arbitration related to the construction of a highway in Colombia (Bogota-Los Llanos).

- Served as arbitrator in two domestic arbitrations –ICA S.A. de C.V. (Mexico) v. Instituto de Desarrollo Urbano de Bogota (IDU)-, related to the Bogota´s road network rehabilitation.

- 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 (PPA).

- Served as sole arbitrator in an ICC international commercial arbitration held in Panama City under the laws of the State of Maryland (USA), related to the design, construction, technical assistance, and financing of a hotel complex.


CORPORATE AND M&A ARBITRATIONS

- Acted as Arbitrator in a US$350 million domestic arbitration under the Rules of the Chamber of Commerce of Bogota between Grupo de Energía de Bogota and Enel related to an alleged abuse of power by some of the shareholders.

- Served as arbitrator in an international commercial arbitration held in Bogota, under the International Arbitration Rules of the Chamber of Commerce of Bogota, between a Brazilian and Colombian companies, arising out of a share purchase agreement.

- 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 defended Bancolombia, the largest commercial bank in Colombia, in a US$700 million domestic arbitration brought by Gilinsky Group et al arising out of the Bancolombia’s ADRs (American Depositary Receipt) trade on the New York Stock Exchange. At the moment such arbitration was 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 Group 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.


GENERAL COMMERCIAL DISPUTES


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

- Served as arbitrator in an international commercial arbitration held in Santiago (Chile) under ICC rules, related to agency and distribution.

- Successfully represented Tecnoquimicas against Comcel S.A. (Claro Colombia S.A.) in a US$50 million domestic arbitration arising out the distribution of prepaid mobile cards.

- Served as arbitrator in two international commercial arbitrations held in Paris under ICC Rules, related to the construction of a gas pipeline.

- Successfully represented Cellpoint against Comcel S.A. (Claro Colombia S.A.) in matters related to commercial agency for the promotion of mobile services.

- 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 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.

- Successfully represented a multinational company in an international commercial arbitration held in Paris under ICC rules, related to agency and distribution in both Latin America and Colombia.

Served as arbitrator in Beneficencia de Cundinamarca v. Banco Central Hipotecario and Fiduciaria Central, a US$200 million domestic arbitration related to the management and sale of real estate.

- Served as arbitrator in Inurbe v. Fiduagraria, a landmark arbitration related to the professional liability of a trust regarding management and investment of financial assets.

- Served as chairman in an ICC international commercial arbitration held in Mexico City under Mexican law, related to an international contract for the sale of oil and maritime freight services.

- Served as arbitrator in Roberto Cavalier & Cia Ltda v. Flota Mercante Grancolombiana, a landmark domestic arbitration related to maritime and port agency.
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.
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 Adjunct Professor on Law of 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
- Arbitration Roster of the International Centre for Dispute Resolution – ICDR (the international division of the American Arbitration Association – AAA).

- Member of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) Database of Arbitrators.

- Registered arbitrator of the arbitration center of the Chamber of Commerce of Bogota "List A" and the "International Arbitration List of Arbitrators".

- Designated by Colombia for a six-year period to the ICSID Panel of Arbitrators and Conciliators.

- Arbitrator of the Superintendence of Corporations.

- Arbitration Roster of the Chamber of Commerce of Medellin.

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

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

- Fellow of the "Colegio de Abogados Comercialistas"(ABOGCOM).