Lithuanian tax authorities have opened investigations into finances of two individuals and seven business companies in response to revelations in the Panama Papers.

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A special unit, the Risk Analysis Centre, run jointly by the State Tax Inspectorate (VMI) and the Financial Crime Investigation Service (FNTT), will investigate data in the massive data leak from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca which handled offshore accounts of the world's rich and powerful.

The Lithuanian online newspaper 15min.lt was part of the consorted journalistic investigation reporting on some of the data from the Panama Papers. The former president of the Lithuanian Football Federation Liutauras Varanavičius, the manager of the Lukoil network in Lithuania Ivanas Paleičikas and Armenian national Boris Aroutiounian, who is linked to a luxury car rent business in Lithuania, are some of the individuals mentioned in the Panama Papers.

Rūta Asadauskaitė, spokeswoman for the State Tax Inspectorate (VMI), has said that revelations in 15min.lt publications have been used in the probes.

"After adding data from the Panama Papers stories to information held by the VMI, we moved the investigations over to the Risk Analysis Centre, set up jointly with the FNTT, and launched control procedures in relation to nine subjects, two individuals and seven companies, who are mentioned in the Panama Papers," she said, without identifying the individuals or the companies.

In a story published this week, 15min.lt has reported about financial transactions between a Caribbean-registered company (Codesa Finance) and hotel businesses owned by Bronislavas Vainora, a former owner of an oil refinery in northern Lithuania.

Tax expert Rūta Bilkštytė has told 15min.lt that leaked documents may suggest Vainora was engaging in tax evasion schemes. The VMI has refused to comment.

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