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Published: 15 november 2012 15:54

Lithuania's Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant ordered to cancel contracts with Herbert Smith, Rothschild, BVRG

Visagino AE mobilusis informacinis centras
Aliaus Koroliovo nuotr. / Visagino AE mobilusis informacinis centras
The Lithuanian Public Procurement Office (PPO) has said that Visagino Atominė Elektrinė (Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant, or VAE), the state-owned company that is doing preparatory work for Visaginas NPP project, should cancel unlawfully awarded contracts, worth around 30 million litas (EUR 8.7m) in total, with foreign lawyers and a local public relations agency.

VAE will have to cancel a 20.7-million-litas contract with the international law firm Herbert Smith, an 8-million-litas contract with the British investment bank N M Rothschild & Sons Limited, and a 1.2-million-litas contract with the public relations agency BVRG, the office said.

Two members of the Seimas (parliament) turned to the PPO over the contract with Herbert Smith, MP Vidmantas Žiemelis turned to the Prosecutor General's Office over the contract with N M Rothschild & Sons Limited, which then forwarded the request to the PPO, and MP Algirdas Butkevičius asked the Prosecutor General's Office to look into the contract with BVRG and his request was forwarded to the PPO as well, Aušra Pocienė of the PPO said.

"In 2011 through 2012, VAE conducted public procurement of additional legal services, business consulting and financial advisor services, and media planning services by unlawfully choosing direct agreement as the method of procurement," the PPO said in a press release.

The two-year 8-million-litas contract with N M Rothschild & Sons was signed on 13 January 2012, the PPO said. It did not look into other contracts with the investment bank.

According to information that has been made public and information available to BNS, VAE is to pay a consortium led by N M Rothschild & Sons, which advises Lithuania in the new nuclear power plant project, around 32 million litas under contracts that have already been signed.

The consortium previously included Nordic-Baltic investment bank Evli, international economic and financial consultancy NERA Economic Consulting, and German technical consultancy Fichtner.

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