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José E. Arvelo

Special Counsel
José Arvelo

José Arvelo specializes in cross-border disputes and has extensive experience representing clients in high-stakes international arbitrations, transnational litigation, and white collar investigations.

Mr. Arvelo has served as counsel and advisor to multinational companies from diverse industries and foreign sovereigns in investor-state and commercial arbitrations, as well as in complex transnational and multi-district litigation in the United States. He has represented clients prosecuting high-value claims in arbitral proceedings conducted in English and Spanish, and has litigated transnational legal disputes in U.S. courts concerning foreign law, the Alien Tort Statute, the Anti-Terrorism Act, and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, among other issues.

International Arbitration

  • Represented the claimants in Valores Mundiales, S.L. & Consorcio Andino S.L. v. República Bolivariana de Venezuela (ICSID Case No. ARB/13/11) (Spanish-language proceeding), resulting in an award exceeding $430 million.
  • Represented the claimant in Mobil Cerro Negro v. Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. et al. (ICC Case No. 15415/JRF), resulting in an award exceeding $900 million.
  • Represented the claimants in Mobil Corporation et al. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (ICSID Case No. ARB/07/27), resulting in an award exceeding $2 billion.

Litigation

  • Representation of Chiquita Brands International, Inc. and one of its executives in interrelated litigation matters arising out of extortion payments to illegal armed groups in Colombia, including mass-tort claims under the Alien Tort Statute and other laws, insurance coverage disputes, and government investigations. See, e.g., Cardona v. Chiquita Brands Int’l, Inc., 760 F.3d 1185 (11th Cir. 2014).
  • Representation of the Kingdom of Spain in litigation to secure recognition of sovereign immunity and repatriation to Spain of an estimated $600 million in coins and other artifacts removed from a sunken 1804 Spanish Navy Frigate. See, e.g., Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. v. Unidentified Shipwrecked Vessel, 657 F.3d 1159 (11th Cir. 2011).
  • Represented a major pharmaceutical company in civil litigation (Spanish-language proceeding).

White Collar Investigations and Anti-Corruption/FCPA

  • Represented a major pharmaceutical company in an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities & Exchange Commission relating to its operations in a South American country.
  • Assisted a manufacturing company with an internal investigation into alleged wrongdoing in relation to imports in a South American country.
  • Conducted an anti-corruption risk assessment for a consumer-products company relating to its operations in several South American countries.
  • Advised a multinational company in the consumer brands sector regarding its global anti-corruption compliance program.
  • Assisted a multinational mining company navigate issues relating to a criminal investigation into its operations in a South American country.

Pro Bono

  • Representation of human-trafficking victims in federal litigation.
  • Advice to international non-profit organization on matters involving international criminal law.
  • Representation of Salvadoran national in connection with applications for U.S. immigrant visa and citizenship.
  • Represented an indigent senior citizen in litigation against his former landlord.

Memberships and Affiliations

  • American Society of International Law
  • Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia, Board Member (2014-2016)
  • International Bar Association

Previous Experience

  • U.S. Department of State, Office of International Claims and Investment Disputes, Law Clerk (2006)
  • Congressional Research Service, Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division, Foreign Policy Clerk (2003)
  • Legal 500 Latin America, International Arbitration (2015) 
  • Washington DC Super Lawyers, International "Rising Star" (2014-2015)