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Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian businesspeople mentioned in Panama Papers

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

A number of well-known Lithuanian businessmen linked to offshore companies, as well as several politicians with assets registered in Panama, the tax haven, are mentioned in the Panama Papers, says a Lithuanian journalist working on the global project aiming to expose possible tax evasion.

Šarūnas Černiauskas, the project’s representative in Lithuania, claims 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 told national TV station LRT.

The former president of the Lithuanian Football Federation and the owner of an offshore company that handled million-dollar transactions and owned the Sports Palace in Vilnius is one among the Lithuanian faces in the Panama Papers, according to the journalist.

Lithuania’s Rio Olympics medal expectations

Lithuanian Olympians are expected to win at least two medals at Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games this summer, believes the country’s National Olympic Committee president Daina Gudzinevičiūtė. Participating in the parliamentary Youth and Sports Affairs Commission, she said the goal for Lithuanian athletes is to claim five «top positions», which is eighth spot and above. In all, about 70 Lithuanians are to compete at Rio Games, Gudzinevičiūtė says.

Lithuania’s economy lags behind Estonia

According to Rokas Grajauskas, economist for Danske Bank, it will take three to four years for Lithuania’s economy to reach where Estonia is today. In his words, Lithuanian businesses adapted well to the Russian embargo, which gives hope for the fastest growth of exports in the Baltic region this year

National Land Service deputy chief apprehended

Deputy Director of the Lithuanian National Land Service, former Interior minister Gintaras Jonas Furmanavičius, was detained by law enforcement officers on Wednesday, April 6. The Special Investigation Service says he is suspected of influence peddling.

Lithuania and Germany together remember Jews’ rescuers

President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with the initiators of a unique project carried out in Lithuania and Germany to support the rescuers of Jews. The project was launched at the initiative of the Order of Malta and the Lithuanian Jewish community. The aim of the project is to support people living in Lithuania who rescued Jews during the Second World War. President Dalia Grybauskaitė and German President Joachim Gauck serve as co-patrons of this initiative.

«The righteous among the nations attested humanity even in the very darkest hours of our history. Lithuania and Germany together remember their courage and sacrifice, we will always be grateful to the Righteous Among the Nations for their heroism and nobleness. This project unites people and countries, builds bridges between the past and the future, and does not allow indifference to prevail,» the president said.

Real estate sales grow 23 percent in March

March in Lithuania’s real estate market has been intense with 23 percent more deals concluded in March than the previous month.

Conservatives’ once trouble-maker leaves party to join Peasant and Greens Union

Long-time member of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, MP Egidijus Vareikis, who has dealt with alcohol abuse-related issues, is leaving the Conservative party to join the Peasant and Greens Union. The Union has been ascending in the polls and caught up with the Labour Party and Order and Justice Party in the rankings.

Vasiliauskas re-appointed governor of Lithuania’s central bank

Vitas Vasiliauskas, board chairman of the central Bank of Lithuania, will head the bank for another five-year term.  In a secret ballot on Thursday, April 7, his appointment for the second term in office was supported by 59 members of parliament, with 23 voting against and 17 abstaining. Three ballot papers were invalidated. Vasiliauskas was proposed for the second term by President Dalia Grybauskaitė. Vasiliauskas has chaired the central bank since April 16, 2011, and his first five-year mandate will expire on April 15, 2021.

Lithuania’s star swimmer’s father offends gays

Invited by the Lithuanian Gay League (LGL) to participate in the Baltic Pride event in Vilnius in June, the League received an unexpected answer from Saulius Meilutis, the father of Lithuania’s Olympic hope Rūta Meilutytė and head of her name fund. Meilutis in his reply called gay people a «nature’s anomaly» and said he could not support the march. An LGL representative had sent a letter to Meilutytė charity fund inviting the Olympic and European champion and record holder to participate in the Baltic Pride 2016 fundraising dinner. Meilutytė was swift to respond her father does not reflect the views she and the organization have on the LGBT community.

Russia sentences Lithuanian national for spying BNS

Russian court has sentenced Lithuanian national Aristidas Tamošaitis to 12 years in prison for spying, according to Lithuania’s Ambassador in Moscow Remigijus Motuzas.

Proposals to outlaw disinformation

Critics say that the Lithuanian intelligence body’s proposals to make spreading disinformation a criminal offence in order «to step up information security» are reminiscent of the Soviet times and may lead to restrictions on the freedom of expression. «Such proposals remind me of an article in the Soviet-era Criminal Code that prohibited tarnishing Soviet reality,» Virgis Valentinavičius, associate professor at Mykolas Romeris University, told.

PM: relations between Lithuania and Georgia are based on respect and common values

Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius received Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze. Bilateral relations were discussed at the meeting, as well as the cooperation between Georgia and the European Union. «The cooperation between Lithuania and Georgia is indeed exceptional, based on mutual understanding and the friendship between our nations. I am confident that the relations between our countries will continue to grow in a spirit of solidarity, respect for sovereignty, human rights, European values and principles of good neighbourhood», said Prime Minister Butkevičius at the meeting.

Lithuanian Ambassador and Knesset Speaker discuss Lithuanian-Israeli partnership

The Ambassador of Lithuania to Israel Edminas Bagdonas met with the Speaker of the Knesset Yuli-Yoel Edelstein. The officials discussed the visit of members of the Seimas (Parliament) of Lithuania to Israel on March 27-30 and agreed to strengthen the partnership between Lithuania and Israel.

 Maxima shareholder sells his stake

Vilniaus Prekyba Group shareholder Žilvinas Marcinkevičius has sold his 15 percent stake in the company to its majority shareholder Nerijus Numavičius after a court rejected an injunction request

Seimas’ impeachment against Labour Party MP

The Lithuanian parliament moved on Thursday, April 7, to launch an impeachment process against Labour Party MP Vytautas Gapšys. The Seimas passed a resolution by a vote of 87 to two, with 27 abstentions, to ask the Constitutional Court to look into whether Gapšys can continue to serve as an MP after he was convicted for cooking his party’s accounting books.

Cargo traffic at Klaipeda port grew by 10.2 percent

The Lithuanian seaport of Klaipėda handled 9.962 million tons of cargo in the first quarter of the year of 2016, indicating a rise of 10.2 percent from 9.042 million tons reloaded in the same period last year, data from the port authority suggests. In March alone, cargo traffic through the port increased by an annual 14.9 percent to 3.452 million tons.

In the January-March period, liquid cargo volumes rose by an annual 35 percent to 3.186 tons. General cargo volumes increased by 7.7 percent to 3.045 million tons, whereas bulk and dry bulk cargo volumes fell by 3.2 percent to 3.731 million tons. Oil throughput at Lithuania’s Butingė crude terminal, which is owned by Orlen Lietuva, the Lithuanian subsidiary of Poland’s PKN Orlen, rose by 25.9 percent in the first quarter of this year from the same period last year.

Russian troops «could have landed on Lithuanian coast»

MP Artūras Paulauskas, chairman of the parliamentary National Security and Defence Committee, suggested in an interview that Russian forces could have landed on the Lithuanian coast of the Curonian Spit during military exercise.

President officially sets election date

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė has signed a decree, calling the general elections on October 9, her press office said on Thursday, April 7. The president’s decree will take effect on April 9, marking an official start of election campaigning. Under the law, the date of general elections is to be announced no later than six months before the four-year mandate of the incumbent parliament expires.

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