Friday

24th Mar 2017

Belarus oligarch wins EU sanction case in Lithuania court

  • A court in Lithuania allows Belarus oligarch to access personal bank accounts despite EU sanctions. (Photo: Joachim Quandt)

A court in Vilnius ruled on Tuesday (28 August) to allow a Belarus oligarch and weapons tycoon currently under EU sanctions to pay his lawyer's fees in Lithuania.

The court found insufficient grounds by Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to block Belarus billionaire Vladimir Peftiev from using the money to pay his lawyers’ fees.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The Lithuania lawfirm Lawin are representing Peftiev at the EU court in Luxembourg in his attempt to lift the asset freeze and visa ban imposed by the EU in June of last year.

Lithuania’s ministry of foreign affairs spokeswomen told AFP that the court failed to assess “many important circumstances” and that it would appeal the ruling.

Vytis Jurkonis, an analyst from the Eastern Europe Studies Centre, a non-profit based in Lithuania that promotes civil society, told Radio Free Europe that the court had considered two cases, reports opposition website Charter ’97.

“A decision was taken only in one of them having relation to the company that defends Peftiev's interests. The decision related to the possibility of using the money transferred to company's account by Peftiev. It does not influence Brussels sanctions. Of course, a Lithuanian court cannot annul a decision of Brussels,” said Jurkonis.

Jurkonis claims the money belonged to Lawin and was specifically allocated to defend Peftiev’s case.

“The question was to allow them to use this money. It will have no impact on Brussels sanctions or Lithuania’s foreign policy,” noted Jurkonis.

The EU also froze three of Peftiev companies, including weapons company Beltechexport, telecoms operator Beltelcom and marketing business Sport-Pari.

Beltechexport is the country’s largest weapon’s manufacturer and produces aircraft, small arms, and armoured vehicles. The company acts as a middleman between Russian arms firms and dictators in Africa, Central Asia, south-east Asia and South America.

The EU, for its part, is considering extending the EU sanctions to other individuals close to Lukashenko this autumn.

The review follows a decision by Belarus to kick out Sweden’s ambassador earlier this month after a Swedish-piloted private plane on 4 July dropped teddy bears in protest against Lukashenko's regime. The stunt deeply embarrassed Minsk.

“We will be reviewing sanctions on Belarus later on in the next few months ... the situation with the Swedish embassy will have an effect on this,” Olof Skoog, the Swedish-origin chairman of the Political and Security Committee (PSC), a high-level EU diplomatic forum, said after meeting EU ambassadors in Brussels on Friday (10 August).

Investigation

Belarus, EU sanctions and the $1mn bounty

Even as Lukashenko becomes increasingly cruel and unusual, the EU capital is seeing an unprecedented amount of lobbying on his behalf.

Stolen Russian billions ended up in EU states

Illicit money flowing out of Russia ended up in almost every single EU state, an investigation has found, posing questions on the integrity of Europe’s banking systems.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  2. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  3. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  4. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  5. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  6. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  7. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  9. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  10. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  11. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  12. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change