Howard S. Zelbo’s practice focuses on international arbitration and complex commercial litigation.

He has extensive experience as the lead attorney in numerous arbitrations and has represented banking and other financial institutions in commercial disputes. He has also represented both bidders and targets in several takeover litigations. 

Howard joined the firm in 1988 and became a partner in 1994.

Notable Experience

International Arbitration

  • The Russian Federation in an ICC arbitration against an $800 million claim by Swiss Compagnie Noga d’Importation et d’Exportation S.A.

  • Citigroup Venture Capital in its widely publicized battle for corporate control over Brasil Telecom, which included ICC arbitrations in London and in Paris and litigation in the Southern District of New York.

  • DP World in an arbitration against Peru relating to a port concession.

  • The Dominican Republic in an ICC arbitration brought by a Netherlands Antilles company on contracts to provide security services.

  • The Latin American affiliates of international oil and gas companies in an ICC arbitration in New York relating to a dispute under a gas sales agreement.

  • The Republic of Argentina, together with the Procuración del Tesoro de la República Argentina (the “Procuración”), in claims brought at ICSID under the Argentina-Italy bilateral investment treaty by holders of interests under multiple Argentine bonds.

  • Goodyear in an arbitration relating to its principal European subsidiary.

  • A major Argentine oil and gas corporation in a dispute with an oil trading company to which it sells LNG under an English-law governed contract, involving an ICC arbitration in New York and injunction proceedings in the UK.

  • Several companies in purchase price adjustment arbitrations, including obtaining a $70 million purchase price adjustment award in favor of a French company.

  • The former CEO of a large privately held European real estate company relating to the exercise of put rights.

  • A large Italian gas supply company in a price reopener arbitration.

  • One of the world’s largest power plant contractors in an ICC arbitration in Paris.

  • The former general counsel of a Fortune 500 company obtaining an award for severance benefits.

  • The largest fishing fleet in Russia in an arbitration relating to a failed joint venture with a Canadian company.

  • A Mexican corporation obtaining a favorable settlement in an arbitration concerning an alleged breach of a copper concentrate supply contract.

  • The largest privately owned U.S. companies in defeating arbitration claims for commissions.

  • An Argentine company in obtaining a favorable pre-arbitration settlement of a dispute relating to a liquid natural gas supply contract.

  • A Brazilian mining company in a matter in which the company was indemnifying the prevailing party in an arbitration under Brazilian law.

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Commercial Litigation

  • BHP Billiton litigation arising out of  its $40 billion all-cash offer to acquire Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan.

  • Nortel Networks International in connection with a $7 billion dispute relating to the allocation of proceeds from the sale of substantially all of Nortel’s operations and patent portfolio.

  • Warburg Pincus in connection with litigation arising out of its takeover of Rural/Metro Corporation.

  • Genting New York and Kien Huat Realty in winning complete dismissal of complaint alleging conspiracy and monopolization claims, and successfully defending this decision in the Second Circuit, which affirmed on all counts.

  • Deutsche Bank AG and UBS AG in a multijurisdictional battle (Brazil, New York and London) to collect on an over $150 million defaulted loan facility against Intelig Telecomunicações Ltda. 

  • Mezzanine lenders, including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Bank of America, in obtaining a S100 million judgment in litigation relating to a loan guaranty.

  • Citigroup in litigation arising out of one of the largest ever foreign currency trading frauds.

  • lnterpublic Group in connection with a formal, six-year investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to the corporation’s restatement of earnings.

  • Del Monte Foods Corporation in obtaining partial summary judgment in a complex commercial case that led to a favorable settlement of the remaining claims.

  • Norwegian Cruise Lines in winning the dismissal of securities claims.

  • The New York State Banking Department in connection with the financial collapse of BCCI.

  • Both bidders and targets in several takeover litigations, including representing  the prevailing party in the Delaware Supreme Court’s ruling in Bradley v. First Interstate dismissing a challenge to what was then one of the largest merger termination fees ever paid and in Arnold v. Society for Savings, the Delaware Supreme Court’s en banc ruling absolving corporate directors from personal financial liability for proxy disclosure omissions.

  • The Heisman Trophy Trust against a seller of T-shirts that infringe the “Heisman” trademark, winning preliminary and permanent injunctions.

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  • General Member and Member of the Advisory Committee, The International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution
  • Member, The International Arbitration Club of New York
  • Former Chairman, Securities Litigation Committee, New York State Bar Association