Our client was engaged in several arbitration disputes with the largest chemical producer in the world. The settlement agreement was reached and the client made the payment to the counterpart. A bank in Lithuania stopped the payment and later on forwarded it to the Financial crimes unit for investigation. The funds were frozen all that time.
After 2 years the investigation was completed without any unlawful activities found. However, the investigators decided to nationalize it. We successfully appealed and the funds were released to the client.
The case is significant in showing how the overregulation of the banks leads to an extreme hindrance to the business transactions and how legitimate business suffers from the lack of qualified staff at the banks’ AML divisions. Since the investigation took place during the COVID-19 lockdown we had to ensure the provision of evidence from foreign banks ourselves. Foreign banks simply didn’t have sufficient staff at their headquarters to properly answer requests from Lithuanian authorities. We even had the client log in to the company bank accounts from the investigators’ office to print bank account statements live in their presence to prove they are original and true.