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De Facto: international lawsuit against Latvia is associated with infamous Winergy case

Photo: pixabay.com.
Norvik Bank’s lawsuit against Latvian state in the international court of arbitration in Washington is associated with Winergy wind park business, as reported by De Facto programme of LTV. The bank has yet to announce the amount of money it wishes to enforce from the state.

The eighth largest bank in Latvia announced its lawsuit at the end of 2017. Norvik Bank and the family of its largest shareholder – Grigorijs Guselnikovs – believe that Latvia has breached the agreement on investment protection signed with Britain in 1994.
 

Until now the sides involved in this dispute have been very stingy with information. Information has been so scarce, in fact, that only recently it has been announced who is involved in the lawsuit, the programme reports.
 

Oliver Bramwell, head of the bank, mentioned to possible reasons in an interview to De Facto: «Two fields in which we’ve seen several situations associated with regulatory activities we found unjustified, unfair or even discriminatory [from the state]. The second field I’m sure most people are aware of is associated with Winergy case.»
 

Winergy case has a long history. The story is this – Winergy business, owned by Estonia, and firms associated with it received loans from Norvik Bank – around 50 million euros – for the construction of a wind energy park. The conflict broke out when the bank accused the company if not wanting to pay the money bank. Winergy, on the other hand, accused the bank of taking over the wind energy power plant.
 

The two sides later signed an agreement. The wind park was taken over by the bank, and an investigation commenced in regards to loan fraud.
 

De Facto found out that the bank is dissatisfied with Finance and Capital Market Commission, which is an institution that supervises banks, and its decision to categorize the wind park a problematic asset. Because of that, the bank is applied with higher capital adequacy standards.
 

Before turning to the court of arbitration, the bank wanted to partially end the criminal process, which is something the state considered impossible.
 

Evita Masule, the prosecutor supervising Winergy case, has confirmed to LTV that she intends to send the criminal process to court in the next couple of weeks. She does not expect Norvik Bank’s lawsuit against the state to change anything.
 

Sides exchange complaints to each other of failing to resolve the case in Riga, rather than carrying it across the ocean. The State Chancellery says that Norvik Bank did not provide clear enough complaints for the state to assess the work performed by its institutions.
 

«We did not receive valid information prior to the meeting, during the meeting, or after asking them to clarify areas in which they believe violations had been committed,» said State Chancellery’s legal advisor Ilze Dubava.
 

Norvik Bank has yet to announce the amount it wishes to enforce from the state. Bramwell said he is not allowed to talk about it. He did say, however, that resolving the case peacefully would have cost Latvia’s residents far less.

BNN

22-01-2018
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