VILNIUS – A criminal case in which Grigeo Klaipeda and 14 current and former employees of the cardboard factory are accused of polluting the Curonian Lagoon has been sent to court for trial, a prosecutor said on Monday.
"We had more suspects in the case, as many as 22 natural persons and one legal person, but [...] eight individuals were exempted from criminal liability" for cooperating with the investigation or other reasons, Gina Skersinskyte of the Klaipeda District Prosecutor's Office, told reporters.
The defendants include Gintautas Pangonis, the Grigeo Group's main shareholder, Grigeo Klaipeda CEO Tomas Eikinas, and three former top executives of the cardboard factory.
The charges in the case include abuse, falsification of documents, and breaches of environmental rules.
Skersinskyte said earlier that people responsible for the pollution could face up to six years in prison, and Grigeo Klaipeda could be fined up to 5 million euros.
Separately, Lithuania's Environmental Protection Department in January 2021 filed a 48-million-euro civil lawsuit against the cardboard factory.
The Klaipeda Regional Court is expected to hear the environmental damage lawsuit along with the criminal case.
The pollution scandal broke out in January 2020 when prosecutors launched their investigation on suspicion that Grigeo's factory had been releasing untreated wastewater into the Curonian Lagoon for years.