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Company with to Latvian ex-politicians and Russia turns to EC against Lithuania

Ainārs Šlesers/flickr.com
After failing to acquire a permit to carry freight across the country, Lithuanian railway service company LGC Cargo, which is indirectly associated with Latvian ex-politicians and businessmen Ainārs Šlesers and Andri Šķēle, as well as Russian state railway company Russian Railways, has decided to submit a complaint to European Commission.

LGC Cargo chief Sergey Grachev confirms that the complaint was submitted to European Commission’s Competition Directorate last Thursday. He adds the company has yet to receive an official confirmation regarding the complaint’s reception.

According to him, LGC Cargo wishes to appeal decisions made by Lithuanian Transport Security Administration, state railway company Lietuvos geležinkeliai, and Communications Regulatory Authority.

For one and a half year LGC Cargo, whose shareholders include ex-director general of Lietuvos geležinkeliai Stasys Dailydka and his former deputy Stasys Gudvalis, has not been able to acquire a license to carry freight through Lithuania from Latvia’s border all the way to Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast.

Lithuania’s Transport Ministry noticed potential threats to national security in LGC Cargo’s plans to carry freight this way. Because of this, the decision was made to not issue the company a licence to work in transit. Freight transit between third countries is only permitted to the state-controlled company.

LGC Cargo categorically denies wanting to engage in transit transports, explaining that freight from Russia or Kazakhstan is carried to Poland through Latvia, Lithuania and Kaliningrad. According to Grachev, transit would be carrying freight from Russia to Kaliningrad Oblast.

LTSA deputy director Justas Rašomavičius explains that transit is defined by its route – in this case the route goes from Lithuania’s shared border with Latvia and Belarus to the border shared with Kaliningrad Oblast. Because of this, the company was provided with part of the requested capacity for freight transports within Lithuania.

He had previously said the company no longer hopes to receive sufficient capacity for transports on the aforementioned routes. Nevertheless, LGC Cargo plans to submit a request to LTSA before 8 April.

As reported in February by Lithuania’s Lrt.lt news portal, LGC Cargo’s controlling package of shares (51%) is owned by Baltic Transit Service, which is one of Latvia’s largest private railway operators. According to LRT research journalists, once the head of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin, who is also a close associate of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, has attempted to gain access to Lithuania’s railway market with help from Latvia’s company. It is worth mentioning that in 2014 he was added to the list of sanctions compiled by USA for his involvement with Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.


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