Lithuania, Markets and Companies

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 21.08.2019, 10:53

Vilnius wants private fund to finance its arbitration dispute with France's Veolia

BC, Vilnius, 23.01.2019.Print version
The City Council of Vilnius decided on Wednesday to attract a venture capital fund to finance part of its legal costs in an international arbitration dispute with France's Veolia over investments in the Lithuanian capital's heat supply sector, informed LETA/BNS.

lnius has been in litigation with Veolia at the Stockholm arbitration court over the French group's investments in the capital's heat supply sector between 2002 and 2017.

Vilnius' ruling politicians say bringing in an external finance provider will ensure the continuity of the process in case of a change of government in the city. Critics say, however, that the fund will receive an unreasonably high amount of money if the city wins the arbitration.

Under the plan, a venture capital fund could provide up to 6.4 mln euros in financing and would receive up to 25.6 mln euros if the case is successful. 

Vilnius' officials estimate that the city will have to contribute up to 1.4 mln euros.

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Simasius said during a debate on Wednesday that the local authority tries to prove in court that Veolia's representatives gave bribes to his predecessor, Arturas Zuokas.  


The local authority seeks to prove that Zuokas and companies associated with him received a bribe of at least 724,000 euros between 2000 and 2003 for protecting and representing the interests of Veolia, the mayor said.  

Zuokas dismissed the allegations as "defamation in the context of political campaign". 

The City Council passed the decision to bring in a venture capital fund with 28 votes in favor and three abstentions. Zuokas and his supporters did not take part in the vote.

Povilas Poderskis, the municipal administration director, has told LETA/BNS that Vilnius is seeking over 400 million euros from Veolia, which, in turn, is claiming 22 million euros in damages from the city. 

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