Panama Papers link Lithuanian central bank’s chief to Russian oligarch’s company

Vitas Vasiliauskas
DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

Vitas Vasiliauskas, who was a tax lawyer before becoming the governor of the Bank of Lithuania, was authorized to represent Redder Investments, an offshore company registered in the British Virgin Islands, according to documents leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

With a document from October 2006, quoted by 15min.lt, Redder Investments directors authorized three Lithuanian lawyers – Vasiliauskas, Rūta Dagytė (currently Švedarauskienė) and Roma Dermeikienė – to act on the company’s behalf. The authorization expired in January 2007 and there are no available documents showing that it was renewed.

Redder Investments was at the time owned by the Russian Uralsib group. Its main shareholder was the Russian oligarch Nikolai Tsvetkov, whose oil business Nikoil has been closely linked to Lukoil, one of Russia’s major oil companies.

Vasiliauskas and the other two lawyers were authorized by Redder Investments to open accounts at Lithuania’s SEB Bank. The document expressly stated that they were not given access to manage the company’s account.

Vasiliauskas has told 15min.lt that he has represented several offshore companies during his career as a tax lawyer, but has not done anything illegal or reprehensible.

He also says he has not worked with Tsvetkov’s accounts.

“I personally have not opened any accounts for entities registered in special territories. As a practicing attorney, I worked with taxes and financial services. My clients included individuals, companies and groups, some of which contained entities operating in special territories. As an attorney, I have consulted representatives of such entities about opening bank accounts in Lithuania,” Vasiliauskas has told 15min.lt.

He has refused to comment on his work for Redder Investments, quoting attorney-client confidentiality.

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