Prosecutors drop Druskininkai investigation involving environment minister

The building in Druskininkai linked to the town's mayor

Prosecutors had been investigating suspected unlawful influence on a government resolution that lifted zoning requirements in Druskininkai, the resort town in southern Lithuania. The resolution helped legalize construction linked to Druskininkai Mayor Ričardas Malinauskas.

Environment Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas has been questioned as a special witness, a status accorded to individuals who could be involved in illegal activities when there is not enough evidence to formally charge them. Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius has been questioned as a regular witness.

Prosecutors say communication between “interested people” and politicians on swifter adoption of government resolutions cannot be deemed criminal activity. They also suggested that the Chief Official Ethics Commission and the parliamentary Anticorruption Commission should look into the circumstances.

Druskininkai Mayor Malinauskas admits he has had a phone conversation with Environment Minister Trečiokas over the government resolution which was then in the stage of drafting.

Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius was also questioned as a witness as part of the probe as to whether the government decree was not aimed at a specific building in Druskininkai.

According to Butkevičus, “the fact that the investigation was dropped proves that government members were accused without a reason, while political powers hostile to the government were collecting political dividends”.

Prosecutors also said on Tuesday they are carrying out a separate investigation into the origin of funds used to purchase the building in Druskininkai.

While Malinauskas is not the official owner of the building, he paid the construction workers.

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