bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Wednesday 17.01.2018 | Name days: Tenis, Dravis
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

Mass protests in Greece do not hold back new bailout reforms

The parliament of Greece has adopted a large set of reforms pushed for by international creditors in return for more bailout money, despite approximately 20 000 people protesting outside the parliament and brief clashes with riot police breaking out.

Foster families in Latvia to receive larger benefits

Municipal administrations have a duty to pay larger benefits for child care when children are put in foster families, Latvian Welfare Ministry reports.

Government plans to improve anti-doping measures in Latvia

During a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, a legislative draft developed by Healthcare Ministry on adding changes to the Sports Law for the improvement the country’s anti-doping measures was approved.

Only 12% of workers know their organization’s IT security policy

Businesses around the world still suffer from a catastrophically low level of awareness for IT matters, according to a study performed by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International.

Parents let children on ice in spite of temporary restriction

On Sunday, 14 January, officers of Riga Municipal Police observed with video-recording equipment how two people were skating on the surface of Victory Park’s pond. Because it is banned for people to remain on ice of large bodies of water in Riga, officers were sent in.

Czech President to be determined in duel between Zeman and Drahoš

In the Czech presidential election, no candidate has garnered a half of the votes and its result will be determined in a run-off between the current eursceptic President and a pro-European academic.

Aldaris: non-alcoholic beer market in Latvia grew 9% in 2017

Aldaris concluded 2017 with a significant increase in their non-alcoholic beer category of products. Demand for non-alcoholic beer has increased across all of Latvia – market growth was 9% in 2017, as reported by the company’s representatives.

Politician reports meddling with e-health system; prime minister parries

Last Thursday, 11 January, e-health system ‘suffered malfunctions’, which suggests that it may have been hacked, Saeima’s Social and Employment Matters Committee head Aija Barča mentioned in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Pension fund cautious about 500-million-euro bridge project to Saaremaa

Commenting on the idea that Estonian pension funds could invest into the ambitious project of building a bridge from mainland Estonia to the country’s largest island, Swedish Swedbank has expressed caution.

Study: more than half of Latvians do not trust other people

52% of Latvian residents believe most people cannot be trusted. Only 5% of residents are ready to trust their fellow man. Less than one-fifth of Latvian residents trust decision-makers, according to results of a study performed by SKDS.

Economic expert: 2018 expected to be good for investors

«This year promises to be good for investors, because global economy is on a rise and profits of businesses have a tendency to grow,» says Luminor economic expert Gints Belēvičs.

Estonia counts more residents for 3rd consecutive year

Registering an increase in the Estonian population for the third consecutive year, Estonian statisticians have estimated that the population has increased by 3,070 people to 1,318,700 residents. They have also warned that this is preliminary data, which could still change considerably as unregistered immigration has not been included.

Russian school struck by teenager knife attack

In a knife attack on a school in Perm, Russia, eleven children and a teacher have suffered injuries.

NA: city council has to consider new partnership approach for Agenskalns market

Riga City Council members have to decide what is more important for Agenskalns market’s development: rate or quality. There are two options: force a closed market development with an auction of long-term lease or consider public private partnership option. Such a proposal was submitted to Riga City Council’s City Property Committee by the faction of the National Alliance.

Romania Prime Minister changed, second since June

Romanian head of government Mihai Tudose has lost the support of his own Social Democratic Party becoming the second Romanian Prime Minister to lose the seat in seven months.

Moderately rapid export rise recorded in Latvia in January-November period

Compared with the previous year’s period, a moderately rapid export growth was recorded in Latvia in the January-November period of 2017 when compared with other EU member states, according to data published by Eurostat.

Japanese R&I upgrades Latvia’s credit rating to A-

Japanese Rating and Investment Information, Inc. (R&I) has announced its decision to upgrade Latvia’s rating from BBB+ to A- with a stable outlook, as reported by Latvian State Treasury.

KVV Liepājas metalurgs to be auctioned off

Insolvency administrator to the bankrupt KVV Liepājas metalurgs Guntars Koris has decided to sell property owned by the company at an auction, as confirmed by the administrator’s representative Dzintars Hmieļevskis.

Port turnover of Latvia’s neighbours up 9%; Latvia suffers 2% decline

«Total turnover of Russian ports has grown to 787 million tonnes, according to data from Russian Federal Agency for Marine and River Transport. Compared with 2016, stevedores of Latvia’s neighbouring countries serviced 7.2% more liquid cargoes, with their volume reaching 414 million tonnes. The total volume of bulk cargoes, on the other hand, has increased by 11.1%, and now reaches 373 million tonnes,» as reported by Dienas Bizness journalist Egons Mudulis.

Greek transport strike seeks to safeguard right to call strikes

A scope of Greek public transport services drew to a halt on the opening day of the week as public transport workers and air traffic controllers engaged in a strike to protest against what they see as attempts to limit they right to hold strikes.

Olaine prison to have a new training centre for correctional service personnel

On 15th and 16th January, Justice Ministry will organize a meeting for the Norwegian finance instrument’s 2014-2021 planning period. During this period, officials will discuss the progress of the Improved correctional services system. As part of this programme, it is planned to build a new training centre in Olaine prison for correctional service personnel, as reported by the ministry.

Estonia's new road tax payment criticised by road hauliers

As the new road tax has entered into force in Estonia in 2018, the country's Association of Estonian International Road Carriers has commented after the first two weeks of its implementation that a key problem is that the state has not granted truck drivers the possibility to pay the road tax at gas stations in addition to the existing way paying the tax online.

Marriott International hotel network enters Latvia’s market

Albert Hotel will be closed down for renovations on Monday, 15 January. It will be reopened in 2019 as AC Hotel Riga part of Marriorr Group. The new Marriott hotel in Latvia will be managed by Legendhotels, as BNN was told by the company.

NP: Reizniece-Ozola and Kučinskis are proud of tax reform, businessmen are not

Latvia’s tax system underwent serious reforms before the country entered 2018. Until now officials only mentioned the benefits – businessmen will no longer have to pay tax for profits if they reinvest money in business development, the majority of small wage recipients will become several dozen euros richer. However, businessmen are generally dissatisfied with the reform, Nekā personīga reports.

Ilves suggests creation of world cyber-security alliance beyond NATO

Former Estonian President, cyber-security activist Toomas Hendrik Ilves has noted that world's democratic countries, starting from NATO, should form a common cyber security organisation.

Would you be ready to boycott something in your life?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Polls Archive



Category feed: Feed: