Lithuanian intelligence has blocked plans by Lewben Investment Management to acquire a company planning to invest in Verslo Trikampis (Business Triangle), an office complex close to the parliament building in Vilnius.
© Augustas Didžgalvis

The deal has not been cleared by a government commission based on information from the Lithuanian State Security Department (VSD).

Blocked over foreign links

Lewben Investment Management planned to buy Prosperus Real Estate II, a closed-end investment company for informed investors that has already been renamed LIM Verslo Trikampio NT Fondas, but the deal was stopped by the government's Commission for Assessment of Potential Participants' Compliance with National Security Interests.

VSD spokeswoman Aurelija Katkuvienė confirmed to BNS that the commission last September took a negative decision concerning the deal based on information from the department.

"A part of the information is classified. The publicly-available part is that ties with persons in countries outside the EU and NATO pose risks," she said.

It remains unclear whether the deal was blocked due to Prosperus Real Estate II's plans to buy Verslo Trikampis.

Lewben Investment Management has contested the commission's decision in court.

"We have filed an appeal with a court, asking it to annul the commission's decision as unlawful, unjustified and infringing Lewben Investment Management's rights and legitimate interests," Agnė Daukšienė, a member of the management board at Lewben Investment Management, told BNS in a comment.

Daukšienė declined to say by phone later in the day if the company was aware that the commission's decision was based on VSD information.

"While court proceedings are ongoing, I prefer not to comment in more detail," she told BNS.

Deal expected to go ahead

According to Daukšienė, the commission's decision will not affect the planned acquisition of the Verslo Trikampis complex.

"These two actions are not interconnected - these are separate transactions. The structuring of the transactions is currently underway and various options are possible: an investment company can acquire real estate, or it can acquire shares in a company that owns real estate," the management board member said.

"Until the transaction has been closed, it's difficult to speak about how it is going to take place. However, this does not affect the acquisition of real estate or some investment entities," she said.

Daukšienė did not say when the acquisition of the office complex might be completed.

Lewben Investment Management said in early February that it had reached a deal with the real estate developer MG Valda on the acquisition of Verslo Trikampis. It was said at that time that the deal, whose value has not been disclosed, was planned to be finalized by April.

According to information from the Center of Registers, Rita Navalinskaitė, CEO of Lithuania-registered Lewben, is the sole shareholder of Lewben Investment Management. Navalinskaite is also chairwoman of the management board at EC Turtas and a management board member at Enercom Capital.

Lewben Group has offices around the globe

Launched in 2009, Lewben Group is an international group of companies providing asset, wealth and fund management services, as well as financial planning services, legal, tax, business consulting, and accounting services.

The group says on its website that it has offices in Amsterdam, London, Manila, Nicosia, New York and Vilnius.

The international capital and financial markets magazine Euromoney has seven times named Lewben Group as the best provider of family office services in Lithuania.

BNS
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