Charges in Lithuania’s political corruption case – bribes for laws, procurement, posts

Vytautas Gapšys, Raimondas Kurlianskis and Eligijus Masiulis

The authorities emphasized that the probe disclosed corruptoin schemes when business figures seeking favorable decisions aimed to influence or influenced key politicians or political parties.

The political corruption case involving MG Baltic, the Liberal Movement and the Labor Party should go to court on Wednesday, Martynas Jovaiša, senior prosecutor in charge of organied crime and corruption at the Prosecutor General’s Office, told a news conference.

“We think that we will hand it to court as early as tomorrow after completing the necessary actions,” said Jovaiša.

In his words, the pre-trial investigation is extremely extensive, including 108 volumes of materials and 450 pages of indictment. Charges in the case were brought against three legal entities – the Liberal Movement, the Labor Party and MG Baltic – and five legal entities.

Ramūnas Lukošius, chief of the Pre-Trial Investigation Division of the Vilnius Board of the Special Investigation Service (STT), said that the probe revealed a scheme of political corruption.

“We managed to disclose facts in the criminal sense and the general political sense in connection to not individual cases of political corruption – we’re talking about a corruption system, which entails political leaders and casts a shadow on other persons who are not suspects in the case but their names are listed,” said Lukošius.

In his words, the investigation showed that business figures aiming for favorable decisions “made every possible effort via their representative to bribe politicians, influence their decisions and people who make the decisions at the top level.”

One of the suspects in the case is the Liberal Movement’s former leader, ex-MP Eligijus Masiulis, is holding a news conference on Wednesday to comment on the charges against him.

As part of the pre-trial investigation, prosecutors questioned more than 150 individuals, including over 50 members of the current and former parliaments, a few former ministers and members of the European Parliament. A total of 200 interrogations were conducted in addition to 30 searches.

In the case, Kurlianskis stands charges of bribery and influence peddling.

He is charged of paying bribes to the Liberal Movement’s former leader Eligijus Masiulis, ex-Liberal MPs Šarūnas Gustainis and Gintaras Steponavičius, as well as former chairman of the Labor Party, Vytautas Gapšys.

The authorities suspect the businessman’s efforts were aimed to securing decisions that would benefit the concern from the parliamentary discussions and adoption of the bill on consumer loan, the parliamentary resolution on private-public sector partnership in reconstruction of Vilnius-Utena highway and influence on other decisions.

According to the suspicions, Kurlianskis aimed to influence politicians in connection to some key appointments – Gapšys was given bribes for a pledge to influence a decision to leave Stasys Dailydka, then CEO of the state-run railway company Lietuvos Geležinkeliai, in post for another term, as well as a pledge to influence members of the political group when deciding on the results of public procurement deals at the Ignalina nuclear power plant.

Prosecutors say the physical entities face the maximum jail term of up to eight years in prison, while the legal entities may face liquidation, restriction of operations or a fine of up to 1.9 million euros.

The prosecutor rejected the allegations by MG Baltic president Darius Mockus about the case being politicized, emphasizing that the statements “were not based on facts.”

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