Ahead of the vote, the leader of the political group Uspaskich belongs to asked the Parliament to return the matter to the Legal Affairs Committee, but his motion was rejected and the majority of MEPs voted to lift Uspaskich’s legal immunity.
The move will allow prosecutors from Vilnius Regional Prosecutor’s Office to continue a pre-trial investigation into alleged contempt of court.
In August 2013, Lithuania’s Prosecutor General‘s Office launched a pre-trial investigation into Uspaskich’s statements about judges then hearing his Labour Party‘s fraudulent bookkeeping case. The politician then called the judges criminals and cowards.
In late March, the EP lifted Uspaskich’s legal immunity in a separate fraud and fraudulent bookkeeping case. The case is now being heard by the Court of Appeal of Lithuania.
Uspaskich denies his guilt and says he’s a victim of political persecution.
Uspaskich gained legal immunity after becaming a member of the new European Parliament last July.