Lithuania demands to drop $621 million lawsuit by Russian businessman
MOSCOW, September 22 (RAPSI) – Lithuania’s authorities have lodged a motion with the Moscow Commercial Court to drop a lawsuit by Russian businessman and former co-owner of the Lithuanian nationalized bank Snoras, Vladimir Antonov, demanding collection of more than 40 billion rubles ($621 million) from the country, RIA Novosti reported on Thursday.
The defendant insists that Lithuania has legal immunity, in accordance with a bilateral treaty signed with Russia. Moreover, the Lithuanian Republic entered one more written motion seeking to dismiss Antonov’s claim without prejudice because the dispute between parties must be considered by the court of the International Chamber of Commerce based in Paris.
Lithuania’s representative was absent from court on Thursday; Antonov was personally present.
Representatives of the Lithuanian social organization responsible for protection of Snoras bank depositors’ interests also attended the court and filed a request for intervention. According to them, the trial may affect interests and rights of depositors of the bank which is currently in the process of bankruptcy.
Antonov seeks to collect from Lithuania more than 20.2 billion rubles ($313.5 million) in compensation for property damage and over 19.9 billion rubles ($308.8 million) in business reputation damage. Moreover, the plaintiff demands to declare illegal information distributed by the country’s president Dalia Grybauskaite, who had criticized performance of Snoras managers before nationalization of the bank, and published in online media in 2011, the court papers read.
Snoras was part of Antonov's Convers Group. The Convers Group held 68.10 percent of the bank and another 25.3 percent was held by Baranauskas.
In addition, the government of Latvia also announced that the Krajbanka bank, currently on the verge of bankruptcy and 60% owned by Antonov, would be nationalized.
Antonov has been charged by Lithuanian authorities with embezzlement of EUR 565 million, forging documents and fraudulent accounting and put on the European wanted list. Antonov and his partner Raimondas Baranauskas, were arrested on November 24, 2011 in the United Kingdom and put in detention but later they were released on bail. Antonov left the United Kingdom trembling for his life. He could face up to 10 years in Lithuania's prison if convicted.