On 24 September, the ministry signed a contract with the winning bidders - the Swiss law firm Lalive and the Lithuanian law firm Sorainen & Partners, which are acting under a partnership agreement.
The law firms, which placed the sole bid for the contract, will be paid 8.667 million litas for representing Lithuania. However, the Finance Ministry will spend more money on their services, because it will have to cover third-party expenses, such as translation services, travel, etc.
"The value of the legal services contract with Lalive and Sorainen & Partners is 8.667 million litas. Given that there will be other expenses related to these legal services, the Finance Ministry has earmarked up to 10 million litas for this purpose in total," Rasa Jakilaitienė, advisor to the finance minister, told BNS.
According to the Finance Ministry, back in May, Antonov filed an objection against Lithuania for inadequate protection of his investments. Antonov claims that Lithuanian authorities' decisions to appoint a temporary administrator for Snoras and nationalize the bank and then declare it bankrupt and prosecute him were politically motivated and discriminatory.
Antonov told the daily Lietuvos Rytas last week that he was planning to file a suit against Lithuania over lost investment. It was reported earlier that the ex-owner intended to take Lithuania to an arbitration tribunal in Paris.
The government has authorized the Finance Ministry to represent it in Snoras-related disputes.
Snoras' former shareholders, Antonov and Raimondas Baranauskas, are suspected of appropriation of Snoras' assets worth around 1.7 billion litas. Lithuanian prosecutors have issued a European arrest warrant for the two men who live in London and are fighting their extradition.
The Lithuanian government nationalized Snoras last November. A court opened bankruptcy proceedings against the bank soon afterwards and on 22 August this year, ruled to liquidate it.
The Lithuanian Prosecutor General's Office launched a pre-trial investigation into possible false accounting, document forgery, abuse, embezzlement, and money laundering at Snoras.
Shortly afterwards, suspicions of large-scale embezzlement and document forgery were brought against Antonov and Baranauskas. Baranauskas is also suspected of fraudulent bookkeeping and abuse of official position.
The Westminster Magistrate's Court in London is expected to decide on 21 January 2013 whether or not to hand the two men over to Lithuania.