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Court finishing examination of evidence in Labour Party's trial

Viktoras Uspaskich
Irmanto Gelūno / 15min nuotr. / Viktor Uspaskich
Šaltinis: BNS
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A Vilnius court hearing the so-called black bookkeeping case of the Labour Party has decided to summon no more witnesses to hearings and ruled to publish the testimony of nearly 20 witnesses who have passed away or left for abroad.

The Labour Party's case includes about 330 witnesses. About 150 of them have been interrogated, including main witness Nijolė Steponavičiūtė. State prosecutor has said the court had already gathered enough testimonies.

The court ruling to stop hearing testimonies has caused irritation to the accused.

“Enjoy the democracy and law. (...) You will sit here today," MEP Viktor Uspaskich, one of the defendants and the party leader, told journalists on Monday.

Once the court decided to listen to no more witnesses, the examination of case evidence is nearing its end. Parties can still ask the court to summon those whom they believe to be important witnesses.

The defendants have said they would not testify until completion of all interrogations. The date of their testimony is yet to be set.

On Monday, the Vilnius court also overruled Uspaskich's call to remove state prosecutor Saulius Verseckas as well as the plea filed by defendant Vytautas Gapšys and his lawyer to turn to parliament for cancellation of his legal immunity in the light of new charges. The court said that the parliamentary resolution adopted in December 2008 allowed bringing criminal charges against Gapšys in general and did not specify an article of the Criminal Code.

The court is proceeding with the hearing on Monday afternoon.

On 26 October, the Lithuanian Prosecutor General's Office charged the Labour Party, its leader Viktor Uspaskich, Labour MP Vytautas Gapšys, Vitalija Vonzutaitė, as well as the party's former accountant Marina Liutkevičienė with fraud.

Later in the day, Uspaskich said that prosecutor Verseckas' actions just days before run-ff elections were plain politicizing.

After revision of the charges, the defendants are facing more severe punishments and the statute of limitations is extended. Under earlier charges, the statute of limitations was eight years, counting from 2006. The limitations now are 10 years.

Prosecutors have said earlier that the Labour Party's financial documentation for the 2004-2006 period failed to include about LTL 25 million (EUR 7.3 million) in income and about 23 million litas in spending related with property, commitments, and structural changes, and also failed to pay taxes of around 4 million litas.

Uspaskich strongly denies all charges.

BNS
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