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Russian fund takes Lithuania to court over Snoras Bank takeover

The Russian Fund for Protection of Investors' Rights in Foreign States launched international arbitration proceedings against Lithuania over the 2011 nationalization of AB Bankas SNORAS.

The proceedings were launched at the International Chamber of Commerce's International Court of Arbitration, with the fund acting in the interest of Bankas Snoras' former majority shareholder Vladimir Antonov. Law firms Alston & Bird and Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners will represent the Russian side in the proceedings.

The initial value of the claim amounts to €1.1 billion, but the exact figure will be determined at a later stage. The value of Bankas Snoras was around €2.5 billion at the time of its nationalization, according to the fund.

Lithuanian Finance Minister Vilius Šapoka said his country had been notified about the proceedings and has one month to respond to the claims, Lithuanian news portal Delfi reported May 7.

In 2016, Antonov launched proceedings against Lithuania with a Moscow arbitration tribunal, seeking more than €500 million in damages for the bank's nationalization, but the proceedings were discontinued after Lithuania exercised its right to jurisdictional immunity under international law, Delfi said.

Antonov and another Snoras Bank shareholder, Raimondas Baranauskas, have been accused by Lithuanian authorities of embezzling €565 million from Bankas Snoras. Antonov, who is a Russian citizen, is currently serving a 30-month sentence in a Russian penal colony for embezzling 150 million Russian rubles from JSC Bank Sovetsky, Vedomosti said May 7.

As of May 8, US$1 was equivalent to 64.96 Russian rubles.