Estonia, Legislation, Lithuania, Railways, Transport

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Estonian embassy has advised Skinest Rail currently in dispute with state of Lithuania

BC, Vilnius, 18.09.2018.Print version
Employees of the Estonian embassy in Vilnius have met with representatives of Skinest Rail, a railway services and investment company owned by Estonian businessman Oleg Ossinovski, in relation to a dispute that has arisen between the company and the state of Lithuania, informed LETA/BNS.

"Skinest Rail has turned to the state of Estonia with a request for help. The Estonian government institutions, including the embassy in Vilnius, have repeatedly met with representatives of both sides to investigate the matter, determined the legal basis of the decision of the Lithuanian authorities and given their advice," Armo Vask, representative of the Estonian Foreign Ministry, told on Tuesday.

At the same time, Vask emphasized that the state of Estonia whenever possible aids all Estonian companies who encounter problems abroad.

"But the state of Estonia cannot interfere in court disputes," Vask said.

Estonia's railway services and investment group Skinest Rail, the owner of Lithuania's Skinest Baltija, is considering taking Lithuania to an international arbitration court over an alleged bilateral investment promotion agreement violation after losing a battle in local courts. 

According to LETA/BNS Lithuania, the Lithuanian government has drawn up a draft resolution that authorizes the state's Transport Ministry to represent Lithuania in all possible disputes with Skinest Raii. LETA/ BNS was unable to get a comment from head of Skinest Baltija Valdas Rasimas.

Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) earlier this year refused to sign a contract on the purchase of railway sleepers with  Skinest Rail, which had been named the winning bidder. The Lithuanian government stated in June that the contract with Skinest Baltija, worth over 3 mln euros, was not in line with national security interests.

It said in a resolution Skinest Rail's owner Oleg Ossinovski "maintains relations with institutions of foreign states or natural or legal persons from those states which increase the risk or pose a threat to national security".

Also, Ossinovski was a suspect in a corruption case in Latvia.

Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai in June signed a contract on railway sleepers with Swetrak, the runner-up bidder.

Skinest Rail unsuccessfully appealed the decisions by the state railway company and the government to Lithuanian courts. 

Ossinovski's Skinest is accused of giving a bribe of 500,000 euros in Latvia in reward for LDz Ritosa Sastava Serviss, a subsidiary of the Latvian state owned railway company, purchasing four old locomotives for several million euros from Skinest.

Estonia and Lithuania have signed an agreement on the promotion and reciprocal protection of investments that entered into force on June 20, 1996.

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