Akropolis wants the govt to pay for own miscalculations?
The notorious Maxima Group (or officially VP Group) strikes again.
You already know that it secretly kept selling dishes proved to emit poisonous materials (this was discovered by my colleague Džina Donauskaitė), turned the former Central Station of Alytus into a slum, was supposed to become the key private investor in the new power plant to be built (in case of any disagreement, the govt would have deposited all its property except embassies abroad), and allegedly forced its employees to participate in an environmental action day. Not all the accusations may be as severe as they seemed in the beginning, but it is indeed very difficult to check them, and so far I have not received any information that would make me think otherwise. Anyway, here comes the latest news: Akropolis, the chain of huge shopping malls belonging to the VP Group (one of the malls was built in the centre of Kaunas under dubious circumstances, and is a classical example of urban mis-planning), is suing the state for the loss of money it invested into land it bought before the crisis. During the crisis, which hit Lithuania in 2008, real estate prices plummeted and many people and businesses experienced losses. The most severely affected were young people who took mortgage loans for their accommodation, as their salaries were reduced, yet interest remained high, and the option of selling the apartment to pay off the debt became not an option anymore.
There is no denying that the government is partly to blame for the severity of the crisis. The previous Social-Democratic government 'overslept' and totally mishandled it. The new Conservative-Liberal government introduced austerity measures that badly hit domestic consumption. However, the crisis is practically force majeur, and one should not demand taxpayers' money for one's own miscalculated investment. But of course big business always finds its way.
Update 17 June
The court has just ruled that the conglomerate won't have to pay the remaining amount to the state, because the market value of their purchase has decreased. Of course, nobody cares whose else property's market value decreased due to the crisis. The court explains that the Lithuanian state won't suffer too much, because it will benefit from the development of infrastructure around the mall. I wouldn't claim that infrastructure in that area was underdeveloped. It is close to a very popular park, which also has a concert hall inside, and almost next to the centre. Why would they build a shopping mall there in the first place?