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2019.08.14 14:55

Lithuanian companies have not breached EU's Russia sanctions, prosecutors say

BNS2019.08.14 14:55

Lithuanian prosecutors have dropped a two-year investigation into several companies active in Crimea, saying they have not violated the European Union's sanctions on Russia.

“Prosecutors have not identified any factual evidence that several Lithuanian companies may have been involved in activities in the Crimean peninsula in violation of EU sanctions,” the Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement.

It did not name the companies involved, but added that prosecutors investigated three companies and that Ukraine's law enforcement was asked for legal assistance.

According to earlier media reports, the three companies included Hanner, one of the largest real estate development companies in Lithuania, Pluošto Linija, a Crimean enterprise co-owned by Vytautas Laurutis a Panevėžys-based company, as well as BTInvest owned by the businessman Raimondas Tumėnas.

None of the companies imported any goods from Crimea or Sevastopol into the EU, the Prosecutor General's Office said. Nor have they sold or exported transport, telecommunication, energy, oil, gas and mineral resources products or technologies, provided financial of technical support to these sector, or provided tourism services.

The investigation was launched in the summer of 2017. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs turned to prosecutors in response to an article in the Verslo Žinios business daily that several Lithuanian companies active in Crimea were also experiencing difficulties due to the EU's anti-Russian sanctions.

The EU introduced sanctions on Russia in 2014 after it annexed Crimea and backed separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine.