What’s causing major discussion in the emails?
The Lietuvos Rytas says it published extracts of emails from the firstname.lastname@example.org email box, with a print screen published in the news paper and on this website. The emails are said to have been written in 2014-2016.
Based on the published extracts, the president and Masiulis exchanged emails and discussed candidates for prosecutor general. Grybauskaitė wrote that LNK TV channel’s journalist Tomas Damkus “speaks nonsense” about Evaldas Pašilis and suggested “giving regards” to Darius Mockus, head of MG Baltic group that owns the TV channel, “to take his hound away”.
In an email sent before the 2016 Seimas elections, Grybauskaitė writes that future Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis “is already a dangerous populist, and things will get worse at high speed”. She called on Masiulis to convince then ruling Social Democrats that Skernelis “should not become minister if he leaves for a non-coalition party”.
During the scandal over the so-called „blacklist” of vice-ministers, the president encouraged Masiulis to take advantage of her conflict with then Social Democrat Algirdas Butkevičius‘ government. “Such a reckless confrontation will knock their ratings down and also strengthen the suspicion of non-transparency ahead the upcoming elections. Take advantage of that”, the president wrote.
Are the emails trustworthy?
The presidential office has refused to comment on the email extracts and their authenticity. “The court is now hearing the political corruption case where Masiulis is charged with having accepted a bribe, influence peddling and illicit enrichment. Attempts are being made at all costs to politicize this case and influence its progress and outcome. Therefore, we refrain from any comment for it not to be used for the defendants’ defense”, the president’s press service told BNS Lithuania.
Masiulis told the Lietuvos Rytas TV channel the published emails may have been found when electronic storage devices were taken from him during searches. He confirmed he received the president’s emails from the email@example.com email account, and said he and the president had “close working and personal relations in the political field”.
Who will win and lose from the publication of these emails?
The Lietuvos Rytas does not disclose who it got the emails from. The defendants in the political corruption case my take advantage of these emails which were published soon after the case reached court.
Commenting on the emails, Masiulis, who denies bribery charges, criticized prosecutor Justas Laucius work. The former politician said in an interview he was surprised that Laucius promised to discuss the emails during interrogation and later did not do that. Masiulis said he asked for the emails to be included into the case documents but the prosecutor rejected his request.
The emails may do damage to Grybauskaitė. The ruling parties in the Seimas are considering launching a parliamentary probe into coordination regarding candidates for prosecutor general. Journalist Andrius Tapinas says the emails, if proved authentic, would mark “our head of state’s one of the major fiascos” and her statements on Dapkus could be considered “direct pressure on the media”.