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More than 20 arrested in large-scale corruption case of the Lithuanian judiciary

2019-02-20

The Special Investigation Service (STT) and the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Lithuania are carrying out an extraordinary pre-trial investigation into alleged large-scale bribery, trading in influence and abuse of powers in the court system of Lithuania.

Today the President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė suspended the powers and lifted immunity of 8 judges: Mr. Egidijus LAUŽIKAS, Judge of the Civil Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania; Mr. Viktoras KAŽYS and Mr. Valdimaras BAVĖJANAS, Judges of Criminal Cases Division of the Lithuanian Court of Appeal; Mr. Konstantin GURIN, Judge of the Civil Cases Division of the Lithuanian Court of Appeal; Mr. Henrich JAGLINSKI, Judge of the Vilnius Regional Court; Mr. Robertas RAINYS, Judge of the Vilnius City District Court; Mr. Arūnas KAMINSKAS, Judge of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court; and Mr. Gintaras ČEKANAUSKAS, Judge of the Kaunas District Administrative Court. These people are provisionally arrested. All arrested judges have extensive work experience of 24–37 years.

In the early hours of the morning other persons, who were interested in relevant court decisions and are suspected of bribery, trading in influence and other criminal activities, were also arrested. Among them are 5 practicing advocates: Mr. Drąsutis ZAGRECKAS, Mr. Romualdas MIKLIUŠAS, Ms. Giedrė CIMBOLIENĖ, Mr. Aivaras SURBLYS, Mr. Marius NAVICKAS, also assistant of judge of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, lawyers and other persons. In total 26 people have been arrested today.

The arrested persons are suspected of committing serious and less serious crimes as accomplices and acting in organized groups. It is suspected that bribes ranging from 1,000 to 100,000 Eur could be promised and paid for various favourable decisions by judges. According to the data collected during the pre-trial investigation, the total sum of bribes could reach 400,000 Eur.

Today from the morning a number of planned procedural actions are being carried out in various places in Lithuania. Some of them are happening now. They include searches at working premises and in homes of arrested persons, of their cars. More than one hundred officials from STT and other institutions, prosecutors are involved in these proceedings.

"This pre-trial investigation is a signal to the entire judicial system that key decisions and changes are necessary to prevent all forms of corruption. Administration of justice must be transparent in Lithuania and it is, first and foremost, the civic duty of all of us and the foundation of the state under the rule of law,” says Director of STT Mr. Žydrūnas BARTKUS.

Mr. Evaldas PAŠILIS, Prosecutor General of Lithuania, emphasizes that this case is exceptional not only because of the scale of corruption or the size of bribes, but also for the consequences for society as a whole. “Corruption, bribery, trading in influence, while seeking some favourable unlawful decisions, require to speak out not only about damage, which that can be determined by counting the bribes received. It is also unlawful decisions, “pushed” in the name of court to someone’s personal gain, the fate of the affected people, the justice not delivered. This is a loss of people's trust in justice. Therefore, only one decision could be taken when information was received on alleged criminal offences – to start a pre-trial investigation and to gather answers to all possible questions."

The pre-trial investigation is led, organized and controlled by a special group of five prosecutors from the Organized Crime and Corruption Investigation Division of the Prosecutor General's Office and the Vilnius Regional Prosecutor's Office. According to the criteria established by the Law on the Prosecutor's Office, three prosecutors of the Office of the Prosecutor General's Office were granted the status of a special prosecutor.


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