bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Ceturtdiena 19.10.2017 | Name days: Drosma, Drosmis, Elīna
LithuaniaLithuania

Lithuania’s Labour Party founder Viktor Uspaskich exonerated for the most part

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+1 rating, 1 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

Facing the prospects of jail, Viktor Uspaskich, a member of the European Parliament and founder of Lithuania’s Labour Party, which is now part of the ruling Coalition, can sigh off after the Lithuanian Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s prison sentence on charges of tax evasion and fraudulent bookkeeping.

The well-known Lithuanian politician, who ahead of the ruling, announced of leaving the party, will still have to pay a fine of 6,800 euro for failing to include more than 24 million litas (6.7million euros) in income and 23 million litas (6.66 million euros) in spending in its bookkeeping books during 2004-2006.

His former deputy chairman and later the party’s chairman Vytautas Gapšys was fined 3,600 euro and former party bookkeeper Marina Liutkevičienė was imposed fine of 5,700 euro.

Three years ago, Vilnius Regional Court found Uspaskich guilty of the charges and sentenced him to three years behind the bars. Meanwhile, M. Liutkevičienė was sentenced to one year in prison and Gapšys received a fine of 35,700 litas, or 10,270 euro.

Then, issuing the ruling, Judge Daiva Pranytė-Zalieckienė said Uspaskich played «the leading role» in the 2004-2006 financial crimes, but her colleagues from the Court of Appeals exonerated Uspaskich and his party members from the charges of fraud and held accountable for improper bookkeeping only.

The Labour Party saga dates back to 2006, when the country’s special financial investigators busted the Labour Party headquarters in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.

After the lengthy, nerve-racking litigation Uspaskich seemingly comes off nearly unscathed, as the imposed fine of 6,800 euro for the multi-millionaire politician is a synch.

Over the years, his political career, has taken a downward path, however, with the eccentric politician announcing of the departure from the party in January.

Praising the ruling, the Labour Party founder told Lithuanian media he feels «exonerated» and praised the judges who did not fear to pass such ruling.

In his defence, most of the time, would come fellow MEP and chairman of the Party of Order and Justice, Rolandas Paksas, who would underline on multiple occasions that he, in the case, was not «convinced» by arguments of neither the prosecutors, nor the court.

«I see the political shade of the whole case. I think that it’s clearly a politicised case, and I cannot avoid the impression that some political powers are clearing their way by using judicial measures, law enforcement institutions,» Paksas repeated on multiple occasions.

Uspaskich has been member of the Lithuanian Parliament since 2000. He has served as Lithuania’s economy minister. He was elected to the Parliament term of 2012-2016 as a member of the Labour Party, but opt for the stint in the European Parliament as a MEP. Therefore, his seat in the Lithuanian Parliament was filled by another candidate on the party’s list.

Following the ruling, the opposition Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, Conservatives, known as TS-LKD in Lithuania, has announced of weighing a possibility of calling an extraordinary session of the Seimas (parliament) on February 17 to launch impeachment procedures against Labour Party MP Vytautas Gapšys.

The Conservatives also ponder a legislative initiative of stripping all parliamentarians found guilty on criminal charges of seats in Parliament.

Visibly upset by the Appeals Court ruling, which is seen as Uspaskich’s exoneration, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė told Lithuanian media that «it still pays to defraud, steal and avoid taxes in Lithuania.»

Meanwhile, most of Lithuanian analysts were unsure what to make of the ruling in terms of the prospects for the party.

Some speculated that the Labour Party and Order and Justice, two members of the current ruling coalition, are parties whose political fortunes are headed for decline.

For example, Tomas Janeliūnas, a political analyst, and Mykolas Katkus, a communications specialist, believe that the latter may start see its support ratings, currently at 8-9 percent, being gnawed away by the Labourists.

«The Labour Party tends to always show up better in an election than in most of the polls. This happens usually because of its aggressive political campaigning,» Katkus reasoned. He added: «It is just too early to start burying the Labour Party…It has not lost its appeal yet for its many traditional voters, as well as the capability of throwing out strong political campaigns. Namely they chip away some of the Social Democrats’ voters at the end.»

Janeliūnas, meanwhile, believes that with court’s favourable ruling, which stands a little possibility of being overturned by the country’s Supreme Court if the prosecutors decide to take it there, the labourists will target the traditional electorate of the Party of Order and Justice.

«What is characteristic to the parties’ electorates is their relative loyalty. So they easily can stray to the other side if the circumstances change,» believes Janeliūnas.

Virginijus Savukynas, also a political analyst, believes that the Labour Party will not even have to exert much to get the rival party’s supporters on its side if Order and Justice will be showing signs of weakening.

According to Janeliūnas, the whole situation may harm the Social Democrats, too.

«The SD electorate is not very disciplined, either. They might turn up in the election (new Seimas elections are scheduled for late October-L.J.) and may skip it. They also tend to side with any trending vivid politicians from the left,» he says.

Agreeing, Savukynas says that, with the support for Labour Party up, the supports for Social Democrats tends to edge down.

«The competition can especially become obvious at the end of the electoral cycle,» he says, adding that too much is still hinged on Uspaskich – whether he will he want to come back to the Lithuanian political stage, or not.

All the analysts concur unanimously that the Conservatives are the least vulnerable in the situation.

«Their electorate is distinctive – united by the traditional values, having a clear political identity and known for the anti-Soviet stance,» they asserted.

Ref: 020/111.111.111.3161


Leave a reply

Sale of MTG’s business in Baltics to Providence concludes successfully

Wednesday, 18 October, marked the successful conclusion of the sale of Baltic assets owned by Swedish media concern Modern Times Group to Providence Equity Partners. From now on companies previously owned by MTG in Baltics will function as a single organization named All Media Baltics, as confirmed by the company’s manager Pierre Danon.

Estonian port company makes 29% more revenue in January-September

Estonian state port company Port of Tallinn has made the revenue in the amount of 99.1 million euros in the first nine months of 2017, which is a 29% increase compared to January-September in 2016.

42 gambling halls to be closed down in Riga in next five years

On Wednesday, 18 October, Riga City Council supported plans to close another 33 gambling halls in the city. With that, a total of 42 gambling halls will be liquidated in the next five year.

Latvia has the highest index of female CEOs among EU member states

The highest index of female CEOs among European Union member states belongs to Latvia – 47%. In total, only 33% of CEOs in EU were female last year, according to data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.

Survey: more and more people take notice of benefits provided by EU membership

65% of Latvian residents believe the country’s membership in the European Union has brought tangible benefits. A similar opinion was voiced by 64% of residents of all EU member states in the Eurobarometer study performed by the European Parliament.

17 persons in need of international aid are relocated to Latvia from Turkey

On Tuesday, 17 October, seventeen individuals, including nine children, in need of international protection were relocated to Latvia from Turkey as part of EU resettlement programme, as confirmed by Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.

BATL: to avoid crisis in transit sector, government and Transport Ministry must act

Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis’ led Latvian Ports, Transit and Logistics Council also supports Saeima’s National Economy Committee’s decision on the need for Transport Ministry to develop a long-term vision for the development of the country’s transit industry.

Psychologist: six-year-old children are not ready for school

«It is wrong to believe that the sooner a child starts going to school, the better their academic results will be. Reforms are performed aggressively, without asking pedagogues or other specialists for their opinion. We lack a comprehensive analysis of the current situation that would be based on studies, not international ratings,» says certified clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Jolanta Lamstere.

Klaipeda transport ticketing system to be installed by Estonian Ridango

In the Lithuanian port city of Klaipeda, Estonian firm Ridango has been selected for installing its technology on public transport.

Policeman in Malta posts he's happy about killing of journalist Galizia

In Malta, where an investigative journalist has been killed this week, a police sergeant has posted on Facebook he felt happy about her death and has been suspended from office a day after.

Exchange indexes reach new records; oil prices increase as well

Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index reached new record-high values on Tuesday, 17 October. US dollar value before euro and Japanese yen increased.

Anti-corruption protesters in Ukraine push for reforms

Three protesters and a policeman have been injured in Kyiv, Ukraine, as a crowd of anti-corruption demonstrators voiced their demands for reforms aimed at tackling corruption in the country.

«Islamic state» capital conquered by Syrian Democratic Forces

An alliance of Syrian-Kurdish fighters, which is supported by the U.S., has stated it has gained full control of Raqqa, which has been for three years the centre of the «Islamic state» regime.

Poland hopes Turkey would join EU

Polish President Andrzej Duda meeting his Turkish counterpart shortly before an European Union-Turkey summit has expressed a hope that the country located at the cross-roads between Europe and the Middle East would join the EU some time.

Number of people at risk of poverty in Baltics in higher than the average in EU

The ratio of people subjected to poverty or social exclusion risk in Baltic States is higher than the average in the European Union, according to Eurostat data compiled for 26 out of 28 member states in 2016.

E-voting defended in Estonia after criticism from party leader

Responding to claims from a leader of an Estonian political party that the country’s e-voting system lacks transparency, the head of e-Government Academy’s e-democracy department explained it was possible that the voters of one party are more active e-voters than supporters of other parties.

Residents’ mood worsens; people become more critical about their finances

Over the course of the past month, residents’ general mood has worsened significantly – declines have been noted on all positions analysed by the survey. Residents were critical the most in the survey about their material state – the index in this category declined from -9 to -11, according to the latest Baltic International Bank Latvian Barometer.

Antāne: Saeima’s National Economy Committee has heard the transit industry’s cry

Inga Antāne, president of Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics, is satisfied with the decision that was made at the recent meeting of Saeima’s Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee, asking the Transport Ministry to develop and present a sustainable development strategy for the industry and putting an emphasis on raising the competitiveness of railway tariffs.

Latvian’s attitude towards combating cancer in late stages seems irresponsible

The attitude towards combating cancer in late stages in Latvia remains very low, says former healthcare minister of Latvia Ingrīda Circene.

Hydrogen-powered transport technology – a reality in Latvia

There are plans to establish a hydrogen refuelling station in Riga before the end of 2017. A publicly available H2 refuelling station in Riga would secure an inter-state network of hydrogen refuelling stations: the closest other station will be established in Pernava, says Association Zero Emission Mobility Support chairman Arnis Bergs.

Estonian ministry to collect 270 000 euros from IT company over failure to build information system

Tieto Estonia, the Estonian branch of Finnish IT firm group Tieto will compensate the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs 270,000 euros for the failure of the SKAIS2 project, the aim of which was the development of a new information system for the Estonian social insurance authority, but was deemed a failure in August.

Latvia invites Iran to act constructively to ensure security

Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs participated in a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg, where he discussed about the role of Iran in the region and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in light of the upcoming report from US President Donald Trump to the Congress on Iran’s progress realizing the plan.

Vigil held in Malta over killing of investigative journalist

Several thousand people in Malta have taken part in a vigil held after news broke of the killing of an investigative journalist, who blamed Maltese government for corruption.

American exchange indexes reach record-high values; oil prices on the rise

In response to price rise of bank stocks, three leading indexes of US exchanges reached new record heights on Monday, 16 October. In addition, US Federal Reserve System manager Janet Yellen’s prediction regarding a soon inflation rise has increased confidence that base interest rate will increase in December.

54.14% more alcohol exported from Latvia; most of it to Russia

In the first eight months of 2017, a total of 102.259 million litres of alcoholic drinks was exported from Latvia, which is 54.14% more when compared with the same period of last year.