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Published: 17 december 2012 09:02

Social Democrats see no politics in Labor Party's case

Viktoras Uspaskichas
BFL/Vyginto Skaraičio nuotr. / Viktor Uspaskich is charged with fraud.

The leader of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party Algirdas Butkevičius says that the party sees no political character in the case of the Labor Party, which is charged with financial fraud.

Butkevičius, the new Lithuanian prime minister, said all Social Democratic MPs shared the view.

"We asked representatives of the Social Democrats in the ad hoc parliamentary commission a specific question – does the information submitted to the commission have to do with economic and financial crimes or is it a politicized matter. They saw no politics there," he told reporters on Saturday.

"They only said a phrase from the legal side – the case had in part turned into a political instrument in the last (parliamentary) tenure, as the investigation took a very long time. The materials submitted to the commission had nothing to do with politics," Butkevičius added.

On Thursday, the ad hoc commission passed a conclusion that Viktor Uspaskich, leader of the Labor Party, and the party's two other members, Vytautas Gapšys and Vitalija Vonžutaitė, should lose their legal immunity for the court to be able to continue hearing the party's fraudulent bookkeeping case.

Those against the proposal to lift the MPs' legal immunity were Labor's Valentinas Bukauskas, Šarūnas Birutis, and former prosecutor general Artūras Paulauskas, Vanda Kravčionok of the Electoral Action of Poles, and Jonas Varkala, a member of the party Path of Courage. Andrius Mazuronis, a member of the ruling Order and Justice party and chairman of the ad hoc commission, abstained in the vote.

The bid to cancel the legal immunity was supported by conservative MPs Kęstutis Masiulis, Stasys Šedbaras, Arvydas Anušauskas, Social Democrats Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė, Darius Petrošius, Artūras Skardžius, and Liberal MP Remigijus Šimašius.

The final decision will be adopted by the Seimas.

Uspaskich, Gapšys, and Vonžutaitė are standing trial in Vilnius Regional Court for organizing fraudulent bookkeeping while holding executive positions in the party in 2004-2006. They are charged with fraud. In addition to the three MPs, charges were brought against the Labor Party and its former accountant Marina Liutkevičienė.

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