The court has ruled that some public statements made by businessmen Mindaugas and Gintaras Marcinkevičius about a former business partner and major shareholder of one of the biggest Lithuanian enterprises VP Grupė Nerijus Numavičius are untrue and should be denied publicly, although most of them should be regarded as a subjective opinion.
Mindaugas Marcinkevičius ir Nerijus Numavičius
Mindaugas Marcinkevičius ir Nerijus Numavičius
© DELFI montažas

After having re-examined the so called reputation case about the statements published on January 2017 in the article in news portal Delfi about financial transactions of Dutch, Cypriot and Polish companies that paid Numavičius 19.264 million euros, Vilnius Regional Court ruled that Mindaugas Marcinkevičius’s statement “not only us, but also the state of Lithuania incurred major loses“ and Gintaras Marcinkevičius’s statement “money has been stolen – both from shareholders and the state” are incorrect and humiliates Numavičius’s honour and dignity.

According to the court, the statement by Mindaugas Marcinkevičius is of a conclusive nature and leads to the reader’s understanding that this fact is true. As the court ruled, the word "stolen" used by Gintaras Marcinkevičius indicates criminal activity and due to its offensive and degrading nature cannot be considered as an opinion.

"We are pleased with court's decision to oblige Marcinkevičius brothers deny publicly these false facts. (...) We hope that court’s ruling would force Marcinkevičius to end all defamation campaigns and abuse of courts, the State Tax Inspectorate and other institutions," Numavičius’ spokesperson Nerijus Maknevičius commented.

The statements "VP enterprises were potentially used to transfer shareholders' money into Numavičius personal accounts without paying taxes in Lithuania and illegally occupying assets of other shareholders", "one of enterprises used for such transactions was a Dutch TAF Asset 11, it potentially helped to laundry over 20 million euros of shareholders' assets and hide at least 3 million euros in taxes from Lithuania’s budget”, "in my opinion, the main objective was to acquire the profit of all VP enterprises without paying taxes in Lithuania," the court acknowledged as Mindaugas Marcinkevičius personal opinion.

"Numavičius is a well-known businessman in Lithuania, who discloses his activities and personal life to the mass media, thus to be considered a public person (...). Mindaugas and Gintaras Marcinkevičius have proved having reliable data that helped to form a certain opinion about Numavičius’s actions and their results," court order states.

Court proceedings on Numavičius’s reputation case have been running for several years. In December 2017, District Court of Vilnius found that some statements made by Mindaugas and Gintaras Marcinkevičius were untrue and degrading Numavičius’ honour and dignity. Both brothers and Numavičius brought appeals.

In February 2019, Vilnius Regional Court dismissed all Numavičius' claims on the grounds that Mindaugas and Gintaras Marcinkevičius had publicly shared their personal opinion and not a message with truth criterion applied, therefore Numavičius's claims for defending honour and dignity could not be met.

In October 2019, the Supreme Court of Lithuania ruled that Vilnius Regional Court did not provide an opportunity for Numavičius to present his explanations and new evidence, thus violated the principles of civil procedure. For this reason the Supreme Court of Lithuania brought the case back to Vilnius Regional Court for further consideration.

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