VILNIUS – Lithuania’s Special Investigation Service (STT) has brought suspicions of corruption against Lithuania’s Liberal Movement and the Labor party on Friday.
According to the announcement from STT, the Liberal Movement, an opposition party at the country’s parliament, is suspected of wide scale bribery and influence peddling.
STT suspects that two of the party’s members have taken bribes of more than 100,000 euros on behalf of the party from a vice president of a Lithuanian company in exchange for political decisions.
Corruption suspicions against the Liberal Movement haven been brought after a year and a half since the country’s law enforcement had found more than 100,000 euros in the possession of Eligijus Masiulis, the former leader of the Liberal Movement.
In response the party’s leaders called the suspicions to the party unjustified. Eugenijus Gentvilas, the deputy chairman of the party, said on Friday the two suspected members of the Liberal Movement didn’t have a mandate to ask for financial support on behalf of the party.
“Two gentlemen of fortune have caused a severe damage to the party by manipulating and using the party as a cover up,” Gentvilas told a local conference on Friday noting that the law enforcement never found any cash at the party’s premises.
Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite, who was attending the annual General Assembly of the United Nations, responded shortly.
“There cannot be any compromises in fight against corruption,” Grybauskaite said in a commentary released by the President’s Office.
According to Lithuania’s Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, the country’s political system has suffered a “massive blow”. Skvernelis vows to initiate a wide parliamentary investigation on possible ties between politicians and business groups.
The Liberal Movement is the second largest opposition party at the Lithuanian parliament. Gabrielius Landsbergis, the leader of the largest opposition party the Homeland Union — Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD), called the suspicions against the liberals a “political earthquake” in Lithuania.
The Liberal Movement was TS-LKD’s partners at the parliament’s opposition and one of the top choices in elections for young voters.
The Labor Party also received suspicions on wide scale bribery and influence peddling by the STT. The news about suspicions brought against the Labor Party has attracted less political and public attention on Friday, since the party has been losing its popularity in recent years.
Representatives of the party declined to comment on suspicions to local media and said they would hire lawyers first.