Russian fund sends notice of arbitration to Lithuania

Russian Fund for the Protection of Investors’ Rights in Foreign States | 7 May 2019

Russian fund sends notice of arbitration to Lithuania

On April 29, 2019, an American law firm “Alston & Bird” and a law office “Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasyev and Partners”, acting on behalf of the Fund “Fund for Protection of Investors’ Rights in Foreign States” who’s representing the interests of the former main shareholder of the Bank “Snoras”, a citizen of the Russian Federation, Antonov V.A, sent an Notice of Arbitration against the Republic of Lithuania for the illegal expropriation of the Bank “Snoras”, in accordance with the he Agreement Between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Lithuania on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of the Investments, to the President of the Republic of Lithuania (LR) Dali Grybauskaite, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania Saulius Skvernialis, to the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as the Chairman of the Bank of Lithuania Vitas Vasiliauskas.

Due to the fact that the presidential elections are going to be held in Lithuania on May 12, 2019 and the second round on May 26, 2019, , the aforementioned authorities, to whom the Notice of Arbitration has been sent, refuse to give any comments to the representatives of media. Thus, the Lithuanian authorities are trying not to focus the public attention to this case and keep silent about the fact of receiving the notice, and the authorities are demanding a written request from journalists to receive any comments on the topic.

After the expropriation of Bank “Snoras” by the Lithuanian authorities, a large-scale media campaign was initiated, aimed at “denigrating” the name of the Russian investor. The decision to nationalize the bank “Snoras” had a clear political motive, and the destruction of the reputation of the citizen of the Russian Federation Antonov V.A. was intended to divert the public attention from the filing of a lawsuit against the Republic of Lithuania to the International Court of Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). In 2011, the Head of the Central Bank of Lithuania Vitas Vasiliauskas did not provide any evidence that the bank’s “insolvency” was the reason for its expropriation, while the hidden conclusions of the Commission of Seimas, the parliament of Lithuanian Republic, in 2012 clearly indicates that the seizure of the bank was a personal initiative of Dali Grybauskaite.

The Lithuanian government, consisting predominantly of conservatives, who came to power in 2008, immediately began to pursue an exclusively anti-Russian policy, and therefore, managed to force a Russian citizen Antonov V.A and a citizen of Lithuania, a former shareholder of the bank “Snoras”, Baranauskas R.M, to leave the territory of Lithuania and seek political asylum from other countries. But it is unlikely that this time the government will be able to evade responsibility for the illegal expropriation of the bank “Snoras”.

The market value of 100% of the Bank “Snoras” Group of Companies at the time of nationalization was about 2.5 billion EUR. The exact amount of the claim will be determined at later stages of the proceedings on the basis of a damage assessment. However, the preliminary amount of the current claim will be approximately 1.1 billion EUR.