Lithuanian Environment Minister Kestutis Mazeika accused on Wednesday Gintautas Pangonis, the CEO of Lithuania's paper and wood industry group Grigeo, of lying about the causes of pollution in the Curonian Lagoon, and said the damage to the environment could amount up to 60 million euros.
Kęstutis Mažeika
© DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

"He's lying in a very cynical way," Mazeika told BNS when asked about Pangonis' claim that the release of untreated wastewater by Grigeo Klaipeda, the group's cardboard production subsidiary, was due to a breakdown.

The minister said the company had stopped releasing untreated wastewater into the lagoon.

"To my knowledge, the release (of wastewater) has been halted. The company is not using its (waste) treatment equipment," he said.

According to Mazeika, the damage to the environment could reach 60 million euros.

"The statutory limitation period is five years, so we can estimate the amount of damage for five years. It could be 12 million to 13 million euros annually (...), or around 60 million (in total)," he said.

Pangonis, Grigeo's president and biggest shareholder, said on Tuesday that the pollution could have been due to a breakdown, rather than intentional activity.

"As far as I know, there was a breakdown and this is why it happened. It's a one-time breakdown, as far as I know," he told a LNK TV news program.

His comment came after prosecutors in the port city said they had launched an investigation on suspicions that Grigeo Klaipeda could have been releasing untreated wastewater into the lagoon through a special pipe.

The Nasdaq Vilnius Stock Exchange suspended trading in Grigeo shares on Tuesday.

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