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Published: 18 march 2013 10:33 , updated: 18 march 2013 12:13

Vilnius court separates case of Labor Party's ailing leader Viktoras Uspaskich

Viktoras Uspaskichas išrašomas iš ligoninės
Eriko Ovčarenko / 15min nuotr. / Viktor Uspaskich

After illness prevented the Labor Party's leader from arriving to a hearing of the Labor Party's case for the third consecutive time on Monday, the Vilnius court separated his criminal case into a separate one.

The move came in the light of duration of judicial proceedings and the suspicion that the politician's treatment could take a long time. April will mark five years since the case reached court.

The charges against Uspaskich will be examined after he recovers.

Judge Daiva Pranyte-Zalieckiene announced that an appeal against the ruling on separating the politician's case into a separate could be filed to the Lithuanian Court of Appeals within seven days.

On Monday, his lawyer Vytautas Sviderskis submitted a note that his defendant could not appear in court due to the same illness that kept him from coming the last time – duodenal ulcer.

Participants of the judicial proceedings received the ruling on separation of the Uspaskich case. After receiving the document, Uspaskich's defense lawyer walked out of the court room without delay.

Hearings of the Labor Party's case continue – defendant Vytautas Gapsys, currently serving as parliamentary vice-speaker, gave testimony on Monday. He said he had been with the party since its founding, had worked a lot with youth. The politician's testimony took merely ten minutes and he exercised his right not to answer questions.

The party's former accountant Marina Liutkevciene testified afterwards, stating that the main witness in the case, Nijole Steponaviciute, used to pay her unaccounted bonuses.

The Labor Party is charged with failing to include more than 24 million litas (EUR 6.9 mln) in income and 23 million litas in spending into its books in the 2004-2006.

Uspaskich, Gapsys and MP Vitalija Vonzutaite are currently standing trial for organizing bookkeeping fraud while holding top positions at the Labor Party's Vilnius bureau in 2004-2006. In addition to the three parliamentarians, charges in the case have been brought against the party as a legal entity and its former financial officer Liutkeviciene.

The Labor Party's members strongly deny the accusations, saying the case is politically-motivated. The case reached court back in 2008.

BNS
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