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Judge Hals Sale of Assets in Chinese Firm’s Wind Deal

A Chinese-owned company barred by the Obama administration from developing an Oregon wind farm won a temporary court order blocking the sale of collateral it pledged to buy assets for the project.

The order by U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel in New York prevents Terna Energy USA Holding Corp. from going ahead with a Feb. 7 sale of collateral owned by Ralls Corp. “and pledged in security agreements related to a commercial transaction that has been declared prohibited and illegal by an order of President Barack Obama.”

Ralls bought the wind farm assets from Terna, a unit of the Greek energy company Terna Energy SA (TENERGY), last February and was subsequently barred from developing the project on national security grounds because it is near a U.S. Navy base.

In December, Terna notified Ralls that it was in default for failing to make a $4.2 million payment on the project assets and said it would sell membership interest in a Ralls wind facility in Texas posted as collateral.

Castel’s order, issued Feb. 1, is part of a suit in which Ralls seeks to void the transaction with Terna because of Obama’s order.

An earlier attempt to nullify the deal was thrown out last week by a judge in Washington for lack of jurisdiction.

Robert Weigel, an attorney for Terna, declined to comment on Castel’s ruling.

The judge set a hearing for Feb. 25 on his order suspending the collateral sale.

Separately, Ralls is suing Obama and other government officials challenging the president’s power to block the company’s pursuit of the Oregon deal.

The case involving the collateral is Ralls Corp. v. Terna Energy USA Holding Corp., 13-cv-739, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The case against the U.S. government is Ralls Corp. v. Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., 12-cv-01513, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Zajac in Washington at azajac@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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