Feds to Give Company $84M for Destroyed Gaza Power Plant

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 10:09 PM

By Cathy Burke

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A little-known federal agency that helps U.S. companies expand overseas is reportedly ready to fork over $84 million to compensate a U.S. company whose Gaza power plant was decimated in Israeli bombing Tuesday.

The federal Overseas Private Investment Corp., which according to its website aims to "help solve critical development challenges and in doing so, [it] advances U.S. foreign policy," approved a resolution in 2004 accepting the "political risks" and assuming an $84 million liability.

A spokesman for the OPIC told The Huffington Post on Tuesday that a "U.S. investor in the power plant whose investment is covered by OPIC political risk insurance . . . notified OPIC that the facility in question has been damaged."

The Huffington Post speculated that the investor "is likely" Morganti Development LLC, which owns a stake in the only power plant in Gaza.

The Huffington Post noted, however, that Morganti hadn't filed a claim with OPIC as of Wednesday, and a representative from an affiliated company didn't respond to a request for comment.

The Tuesday blast devastated the only electricity plant in the Gaza Strip.

"We need at least one year to repair the power plant, the turbines, the fuel tanks and the control room," Fathi Sheik Khalil, of the Gaza energy authority, told The Guardian.

"Everything was burned."

Amnesty International said the bombing of the power station was a "collective punishment of Palestinians," worsening problems with Gaza's water supply, sewage treatment and power supplies to medical facilities, The Guardian reported.

The Huffington Post noted that the power plant also was hit in Israeli-Hamas fighting in 2006. The OPIC spokesman told the Huffington Post that Morganti didn't file a claim for the 2006 damage.

Morganti is part of the global construction empire of Palestinian billionaire Said Khoury, whose Consolidated Contractors Company is the biggest builder in the Middle East, the Huffington Post reported.

Morganti Group has been a subsidiary of CCC since 1988, the website said.

Khoury and Enron in 1999 built the plant. When Enron dissolved in 2002, Khoury acquired its shares in the plant, and it holds them through Morganti Development, the Huffington Post reported.

The plant's OPIC insurance policy was issued in 2004.

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