Head of Lithuanian central bank says he worked with offshore companies lawfully

Vitas Vasiliauskas
DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

Vitas Vasiliauskas, chairman of the board of the Bank of Lithuania, has admitted to representing numerous offshore companies but also said that he did not open any accounts and did not break any laws. Speaking before the Seimas, Vasiliauskas said that he, as a lawyer, simply consulted with those companies on tax and account-opening issues.

“During my practice as a lawyer, which was from November 2004 until April 2011, I performed no actions related to the opening, let alone the management, of accounts for my clients. My practice at the time was related to tax consultation and separate aspects of financial account services,” said Vasiliauskas.

“I have consulted for business groups and representatives of their structural units on the opening of bank accounts in Lithuania. The consultations were, first of all, related to informing the client of what kind of information they must provide to credit institutions, what documents they had to provide, and so on. Without a doubt, the consultations were provided in accordance with Lithuanian law and other legal acts,” he added.

Vasiliauskas found himself before the Seimas to explain his possible earlier connections to offshore companies related to Russian oligarch Nikolay Tsvetkov. The Seimas sought to find out whether Vasiliauskas had the power to manage offshore companies related to the Russian billionaire, or what power he did have, before becoming the head of Lithuania’s central bank. Information linking Vasiliauskas to the Russian billionaire was published in the Panama Papers leak from the Mossack Fonseca law firm.

The documents leaked by the Panama Papers claim that Vasiliauskas, the current head of the Lithuanian central bank, had the authority to work on behalf of the Russian billionaire, who has been linked to Vladimir Putin.

Vasiliauskas said he had previously told the Lithuanian press that he had worked with offshore companies and that he had done so lawfully.


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