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Published: 10 june 2013 11:44

In his final statement, Labor Party's Viktor Uspaskich warns court his conviction might spark massive protests

Vitalija Vonžutaitė, Vytautas Gapšys ir Viktoras Uspaskichas
Irmanto Gelūno / 15min nuotr. / Defendants in Labor Party case: Vitalija Vonžutaitė, Vytautas Gapšys, and Viktor Uspaskich
Viktor Uspaskich, former leader of Lithuania's Labor Party, warns Vilnius Regional Court, which has just finished hearing the party's fraudulent bookkeeping case, about potential massive protests should it pass a convicting ruling.

Vilnius Regional Court has finished hearing the Labor Party's fraudulent bookkeeping case on Monday and is scheduled to issue its verdict on July 12.

"You can spark unrest, distrust in the state and law enforcement institutions, that's for the future. How would judges react to charges to tenths of thousands of people? Because of these horrendous charges (...). You might see crowds of thousands of people outside the courthouse," Uspaskich told the court in his closing argument on Monday.

He also expressed his resentment over prosecutor Saulius Verseckas' claim that it was a case of political corruption which posed threat to national security.

Uspaskich said his lawyers explained to him that a threat to national security is equal to treason or a threat to independence. The politician said the prosecutor's words have to do with tenths of thousands of party members who can accuse the prosecutor of unsubstantiated accusations.

Vilnius Regional Court is holding the final hearing in the Labor Party's fraudulent bookkeeping case. Not only Uspaskich but also other defendants in the case – Vitalija Vonžutaitė, Vytautas Gapšys, and Marina Liutkevičienė – plan to use their right to the final word in court.

The Labor Party case has been in court for five years.

Lawyers of Uspaskich, Gapšys, and Vonžutaitė say the defendants should be found not guilty, while the defense lawyer of the party's former treasury, Liutkevičienė, asked for a milder punishment for her. The lawyer of the Labor Party as a legal entity suggested that the charges against the party be dropped altogether.

Prosecutor Saulius Verseckas suggested confisctating the illegal money – over 25 million litas (EUR 7.3m) – used for the party's operations, also saying that the party should pay a fine of 1.25 million litas. The Labor Party may also have to cover the 3.8 million litas claim to the State Tax Inspectorate and the state-run social insurer Sodra.

Verseckas suggests that Uspaskich be sent to prison for six years for organizing bookkeeping fraud and other crimes, MP Vonžutaitė should spend five years behind bars for bookkeeping fraud and Gapšys, the parliamentary vice-speaker, should be sentenced to two years.

Liutkevičienė, who disclosed some circumstances of the bookkeeping fraud in the investigation, should be sent to prison for one year, the prosecutor says.

The Labor Party is on trial for failing to include more than 24 million litas in income and 23 million litas in spending in its books in the 2004-2006 period. Charges have been brought against its leader Uspaskich, his deputy Vytautas Gapšys, MP Vitalija Vonžutaitė, the party's former accountant Marina Liutkevičienė, and the party as a legal entity.

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