Washington arbitration case no obstacle to file anti-Veolia lawsuit in Lithuania

  • 2022-01-18
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The Supreme Court of Lithuania said on Tuesday the ongoing proceedings at the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) regarding Lithuania's dispute and the French energy group Veolia is not an obstacle for a lawsuit to be lodged with a Lithuanian court.

Tadas Varapnickas, the lawyer for Lithuania's Energy Ministry, says Vilnius Regional Court will reconsider the State of Lithuania's lawsuit into damages valued at more than 240 million euros, for Veolia, Lithuania's Icor and related persons in several weeks.

"The circumstance that the arbitration proceedings in Washington are ongoing, is not an obstacle for filing a lawsuit with a Lithuanian court," he told BNS.

In July, 2020, the Energy Ministry, representing the State of Lithuania, filed a lawsuit against Veolia group companies Veolia Environnement, Veolia Energie International, Vilniaus Energija and Litesko, as well as the Icor group and persons linked to these companies.

According to the ministry, the lawsuit is aimed at transposing to national laws the demands Lithuania made in its 2017 countersuit against Veolia at the ICSID.

Lithuania seeks to prove that Veolia and Icor unlawfully took over control of heating businesses in a dozen Lithuanian municipalities in 1993-2003 and profited from heating consumers.

Veolia took Lithuania to the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington in 2016, claiming that its investment in Lithuania was undermined by unfair treatment by the country's politicians and regulatory authorities and was initially seeking 118 million euros in damages but the claim was later reduced to 79 million euros.