The support of “MG Baltic” went through various pockets

"MG Baltic", Eligijus Masiulis and Gintaras Steponavičius
DELFI montažas

Liberal Movement representatives created foundations and public institutions over the last few years, which have received almost 64 thousand Euros only from the concern “MG Baltic”. Publicly available data shows that support was distributed by a group of the same people, who are involved in the party.

On Thursday the Parliament removed the Liberal Movement representative Gintaras Steponavičius legal immunity. The resolution, which allows the Parliament member G. Steponavicius to be prosecuted, was voted by 109 MPs, no one was against or abstained. In such a resolution it is needed that at least 71 MP would vote for it.

According to prosecutors, the available data is reasonable to assume that G. Steponavičius had voted on useful legislatives for the concern “MG Baltic” and the concern for that money illegally financed politician to represent the Liberal Movement, G. Steponavičius fund, with the associated public institution of “Freedom studies centre” and the politician’s election campaign.

A river of money

Documents that are available to DELFI reveal that the current Liberal Movement members looked for ways to get additional funds for their activities, even when they were not formally separated from the Liberal and Centre Union (LiCS). As was stated already, at that time a group of friends had formed at the party – Eugenijus Gentvilas, Eligijus Masiulis, Gintaras Steponavičius, Kęstutis Glaveckas and others. These politicians decided to set up funds and public institutions, which aided in receiving support from business.

One of the first institutions was public organization “Liberal Reforms”, it was created back in 2001 on the initiative of E. Gentvilas. Among its creators G. Steponavičius, E. Masiulis and members of other liberal circle are also mentioned.

Through this organization, huge business support was flowing. As soon as the “Liberal reforms” was created, 25 thousand US dollars (about 23 thousand Euros) fell in the account in support from the unnamed person through a bank – The Chase Manhattan Bank. In 2003, after approximately 14.5 thousand Litas (50 thousand Euros) to “Liberal reforms” was transferred from the company “Achema” and “Geonafta”.

This institution and the company “Dujotekana” soon began to be mentioned in the so-called State Security Department scandal concerning illegal influence for policy – in 2004 it accounted for nearly 17.9 thousand Euros (62 thousand Litas). That same year, the “Liberal reform” account again received nearly 29 thousand Euros from “Achema”, while another 23 thousand Euros came from the European Parliament, who with E. Gentvila, who had an MEP’s mandate, the organization had a service agreement.

“I, as a former mayor, minister, MEP have gone through many companies, I wrote letters asking for support. But the support was not for the party, especially since at the time legal persons of political parties were able to directly support it”- said E. Gentvilas.

From one pocket to the next

“Liberal reforms” support served as a starting contribution in the year 2005 before the establishment of the Liberal Movement, and G. Steponavičius support fund. Among its creators the same names are found again – G. Steponavičius E. Gentvilas, E. Masiulis, and others, and the sponsors of public organization “Liberal reforms”.

E. Gentvilas assured DELFI that he does not remember what the size of the support was but he says that it was probably “symbolic.” “Organization” Liberal reforms “at that time had money, G. Steponavičius likely asked for a start,” – he explained.

Documents show that in the first year G. Steponavičius Support Fund has collected an impressive amount at the time – 100 thousand. LTL (about 29 thousand Euros). Officially, they were used in G. Steponavičius then constituency – Lazdynai, Vilkpėdė and Paneriai – communities, celebrations, lectures and other projects.

Soon, the Fund began to receive the “MG Baltic” corporate support as well. Counting from 2009 the “MG Baltic” associated companies transferred 33.7 thousand Euros for the Fund. Last year, the corporation gave 5 thousand Euros, which is the major part of the funds that was received, of a total of 6.6 thousand Euros. G. Steponavičius claims that throughout the existance of the fund, it has received about 200 thousand Euros in support, but does not reveal who has provided it so far.

Old-timers were changed by their assistants

One of recent Liberal Movement members “creations” was in 2013, the same group of people have established the public institution “Freedom Studies Centre”. It is registered at the same address as G. Steponavičius support fund. Both organizations are currently managed by a representative of the Liberal Movement, one of the “Freedom Studies Centre” stakeholders Ieva Sadauskaitė.

“Freedom Studies Centre” was founders and again were the tip of the then Liberal Movement – G. Steponavičius, E. Masiulis, the former mayor of Kaunas Remigijus Mikaitis, the current leader of Vilnius R. Šimašius and former Member of Parliament, the current mayor of Varėna Algis Kašėta.
These institutions shareholders changed only in November of last year, in the event of a scandal over illegal support of the concern “MG Baltic” companies with a number of companies linked to G. Steponavičius. Previous positions were held by Liberal Movement “Youth” I. Sadauskaitė, party executive secretary Renaldas Vaisbrodas, a former Liberal Simonas Gentvilas, assistant in the Parliament Ieva Davydenko, G. Steponavicius assistant in the Parliament Giedrė Vaicekauskaitė and Kaunas Liberal Marius Kapočius.

Citizenship teachers were considered to be agitators

According to DELFI data in just a few years Liberals received more than 30 thousand Euros in support from concern “MG Baltic” only through the “Freedom Studies Centre”. Four years ago, just as the centre was established, the company “MG Baltic Media” has transferred nearly 14.5 thousand Euros, in 2014 – company “Mitnija” associated with the business group – 5.7 thousand Euros. Last year, the “Freedom Studies Centre” received 10 thousand Euros from the same group.
Earlier, the leader of the centre and one of its former shareholders was R. Mikaitis, who stated that “MG Baltic” was only one out of twenty sponsors of the public institution. G. Steponavičius claimed that during the entire existence of “Freedom Studies Centre”, “MG Baltic Group” transferred funds did not exceed 10 percent of all the support that was received.

These findings call into question the knowledge that only in the last year the concern support by “Freedom Studies Centre”, corresponded to 21.8 thousand Euros, which was about half of the received support.

G. Steponavičius publicly states that “Freedom Studies Centre” received assistance was used by carrying out a major projects – Lithuanian citizenship lessons in schools, as well as some other educational events, but not political campaigns. However, last year the media proclaimed that even in a few municipalities – Jurbarkas district, Druskininkai, Utena – liberal citizenship lessons, which are taught by the same G. Steponavičius, E. Masiulis and others, who were going to participate in the elections of the representatives of the party, were banned. They were seen as an appearance before the election.

Used the help of the concern media

The concern “MG Baltic” could support Liberal Movement members not only with money but also by giving the tribune at the media. The Central Election Commission (VRK) in 2015 July adopted a decision regarding the then-President of the Liberal Movement Eligijus Masiulis, who later withdrew from the party because of allegations of corruption, and the current elected mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius.

The VRK stated that the concern “MG Baltic” managed the channel LNK from 2015 February 15th to March 8th, so just before the municipal council elections, by broadcasting in “Alfa week”, with the participation of these politicians, they have been spreading unchecked political advertising – information about the political campaign participants ideas, goals and programs.

Artūras Zuokas, former Liberal and Centre Union (LiCS), which broke away from the Liberal Movement, head of the Lithuanian Freedom Union (Liberal) chairman, said to DELFI that already in 2004-2005 information about the concern “MG Baltic” Group and the Liberals, and a organization establishers was flowing, and the relationship was an open secret.

“In 2004-2005, LiCS was being fractured. It was G. Steponavičius, who was proposed as the candidate for chairman of the party instead of me. Already at that time they did not hide that the financing of the party will be guaranteed by the concern “MG Baltic”, also they will also ensure the support of the media “, – assured A. Zuokas.

Former Chairman of the Liberal Movement E. Masiulis said to DELFI that he does not want to comment on the “various reflections, considerations and interpretations”.

“Any such considerations are the conscience of the commentator. I can say that the Liberal Movement carried out its activities in accordance with the law. Now law enforcement investigations are going on, and they, I hope, will put all the dots, “- he explained.

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