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Published: 20 april 2012 10:30

Lithuanian finance minister criticizes Snoras' creditors for being non-constructive

Ingrida Šimonytė
Juliaus Kalinsko / 15min nuotr. / Ingrida Šimonytė

Lithuanian Finance Minister Ingrida Šimonytė is skeptical of the activities of creditors of the collapsed bank Snoras, describing them as "non-constructive" and the process as "sticky", and says that efforts are being made to sell the bank's "perishable assets" without waiting for the creditors' decisions.

"How many and what claims will be satisfied will depend on how successfully the assets are sold. It's a pity that until now, due to certain legal processes and, to my mind, not entirely constructive activities by some creditors, it has been difficult to convene a creditors' meeting and appoint a creditors' committee that would take control of the process and begin to deal with those issues of the bankruptcy (administrator's) salary and similar issues that have caused great controversy in the country," she told reporters on Wednesday after being interviewed by a parliamentary commission investigating the circumstances of Snoras' collapse.

Šimonytė said that the process was "somewhat sticky" and, therefore, the bankruptcy administrator was trying to sell part of the assets, without waiting for the creditors to hold their meeting, to prevent the assets from losing their value.

"Some asset units, in our opinion, could be classified as perishable assets, and the bankruptcy administrator is looking for potential investors just to keep these assets from losing their value before the creditors will be kind enough to convene for their first meeting," she said.

Both the finance minister and Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius told the commission on Wednesday that they had not been aware of Snoras' financial problems until the Bank of Lithuania decided to suspend the bank's operations on the afternoon of 16 November 2011. The government decided to take over the bank later that day.

However, some sources say that both Kubilius and Šimonytė knew about the central bank's intention to suspend Snoras' operations. They say that the unexpected placement of the government's 750-million-US-dollar bond issue on 9 November showed that the authorities were preparing for that.

The government needed money to pay up to 100,000 euros per person to creditors who held state-insured deposits at Snoras. Around 4 billion litas (EUR 1.16 b) has been spent for this purpose in total, including some 800 million litas held by the state's Deposit Insurance Fund.

On 24 November, the central bank decided to ask a court to open bankruptcy proceedings against Snoras. It was said then that around 3.4 billion litas out of Snoras' 8-billion-litas assets were missing.

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