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Prosecutors attempt to lift legal immunity of Labour Party's Viktor Uspaskich

Viktoras Uspaskichas
BFL/Andriaus Ufarto nuotr. / Viktor Uspaskich
Šaltinis: BNS
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A Vilnius court is discussing a proposal to turn to the prosecutor general for launching a procedure to lift immunity of three of the Labor Party's members who won parliamentary mandates off their immunity and are on trial for fraudulent bookkeeping.

The court finding will be announced Tuesday afternoon. Should the prosecutor's request be satisfied, hearings will be adjourned until parliament's decision.

Prosecutor Saulius Verseckas said that, should the parliament decide to keep the immunity of the three parliamentarians, the court may proceed hearing the case of the Labour Party as a legal entity.

„Parliament's consent is not needed for the court or the prosecutor, it is needed for parties in the proceedings to answer all their questions," Verseckas told journalists.

Three of the defendants - Viktor Uspaskich, Vitalija Vonzutaitė and Vytautas Gapšys – won Seimas mandates last month and thus acquired legal immunity.

"I am asking to make a decision to authorize the prosecutor general to appeal to the Seimas for a sanction to prosecute or otherwise restrict their freedom," Verseckas said at a court hearing earlier on Monday.

"We cannot proceed with the trial, criminal proceedings are impossible, if there is no decision to prosecute made by a competent institution. Further proceedings would not be possible without a Seimas consent to prosecute. The Seimas first of all hears a report from the prosecutor general," the prosecutor said.

Uspaskich, Vonzutaitė and Gapšys unanimously agreed with the prosecutor's opinion.

Asked about the future vote at the parliament, Uspaskich said: “I don't want to make any speculations.”

The three MPs and the party's former accountant Marina Liutkevičienė, as well as the party as a legal entity, are charged with fraud, with the charges revised on 26 October.

The Labour Party and the related individuals were earlier charged with submitting incorrect income, profit, or asset data to state institutions with the goal of evading taxes.

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. It is now 10 years.

Prosecutors have said earlier 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.

The State Tax Inspectorate has also filed a suit in the case, as it has not received more than 3 million litas in taxes and fees, as well as by the Vilnius branch of the state-run social insurance fund Sodra over the damages caused by refusal to pay more than 855,000 litas in insurance fees.

Uspaskich strongly denies all charges.

BNS
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