Šarūnas Černiauskas, an investigative journalist at the online newspaper 15min.lt, has been one of the reporters working with the so-called Panama Papers, millions of documents leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
He says that the documents name a number of Lithuanian businesspeople linked to offshore companies.
“There are a number of businesspeople who are known to the public. We have also identified two individuals who are closely linked to well-known Lithuanian politicians,” Černiauskas said on LRT TV programme “Dėmesio Centre”.
So far, 15min.lt has reported about former president of the Lithuanian Football Federation Liutauras Varanavičius. Mossack Fonseca documents identify him as the owner of a company registered in the British Virgin Islands that conducted money transactions, including a multi-million-euro deal to sell the Sports Palace in Vilnius.
“While working with the Panama Papers, we noticed that offshore companies are more often used not to manage business, but to finance it, to bring possibly unaccounted money into Lithuania from offshore jurisdictions or take it out,” Černiauskas said.
He says he is currently working on more stories based on the Panama Papers.
15min.lt has also reported that accounts in the Lithuanian bank Ūkio Bankas were used in transactions linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I am glad that, after the first reports, [Lithuania’s] Financial Crime Investigation Service checked the accounts linked to Vladimir Putin’s friend Sergei Roldugin. I hope that state agencies will continue to react to our reports,” Černiauskas has said, adding that he cannot share the Panama Papers with law enforcement officers as per agreement with ICIJ.