Lithuanian prosecutors drop TV3 probe

Laura Blaževičiūtė
DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

Prosecutors say they verified that the suspect transfer of 30,000 litas (EUR 8,662) was payment for lobbyist services. The financial operations of the TV channel “did not go beyond the limits of civil law and did not undermine the state’s interests, its financial system, or other natural and legal persons.”

In January, prosecutors in Lithuania’s northern city of Panevėžys finished a probe into alleged document forgery, embezzlement, fraudulent bookkeeping and tax evasion. They filed charges against Laura Blaževičiūtė, head of TV3’s parent company, Tele-3.

In a statement on 16 January, the management of Tele-3 denied all wrongdoing and claimed to have the necessary documents to prove that all of its activities were legal.

In a statement issued this past Friday, the Prosecutor General said the probe focused on a 30,000-litas transfer to one lobbyist office for what appeared to be a foreign trip, citing suspicions that the company had embezzled funds and forged documents to cover up the transfer.

“After all necessary procedural actions were carried out as part of the investigation and witnesses and suspects were questioned, it was verified that the mentioned amount was transferred for actual lobbyist services and is unrelated to the trip,” the statement reads.

The Prosecutor General’s Office told BNS earlier this month the criminal case had been accessed by the Office and violations of the criminal procedure law were identified.

“The case investigated by the Regional Prosecutor Office of Panevėžys was investigated by a pre-trial investigation institution not in the area where the alleged criminal act was committed, i.e., it was investigated in Panevėžys, but should have been investigated in Vilnius [where Tele-3 is based],” the Office told BNS.

In late January, the case was handed over to the Prosecutor Generals Office’s Organized Crimes and Corruption Investigation Department for further investigation.

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