A political corruption scandal cantered around MG Baltic Vice-president Raimondas Kurlianskis, who is suspected of bribery and influence peddling, has dealt a blow to the group's reputation, but it has had no direct impact on its business, Darius Mockus, MG Baltic's sole owner and president, said in an interview with BNS.
Darius Mockus
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

"The greatest blow is perhaps to our business reputation, but the concern is a business entity that neither sells nor buys. Therefore, this political scandal and the frequent mentioning of the (MG Baltic) name hardly have any associations for the customer. For example, if we sold some goods under our own name, then this would have a bigger impact, but since we work with other business entities, with banks, with our partners, there is no major impact on us," he said.

Mockus says that he sees no reason for suspending Kurlianskis, who is heading MG Baltic's media segment, from duties, and insists that the group will not use the media organizations it owns to defend its interests in the political corruption investigation.

Kurlianskis, who is suspected of giving bribes to Eligijus Masiulis, a former leader of the Liberal Movement, and to Labour Party MP Vytautas Gapsys, is chairman of the management board at the Laisvas ir Nepriklausomas Kanalas (LNK) Group, the operator of several TV channels, and at Alfa Media, the operator of the Alfa.lt news portal.

"We regard our media group as a business that has its own rules. The audience is the greatest asset of a media organization. If you make steps and become a sort of a wall newspaper or take some backyard defence actions, you risk (losing) your audience. If you sacrifice your audience, you may solve your backyard issues, but you will sacrifice the entire media group. We are not doing so and, I believe, will not do so in the future," the president said.

Mockus links the political corruption investigation to the upcoming general elections.

"It seems to me that everything will be sorted out quickly after the elections. I have been in business for 25 years and I have seen all sorts of tricks. If you noticed, the only consequence of this (scandal) is that the Liberal Movement is on the brink of failing to clear the 5-percent hurdle (required to enter the Seimas)," he said.

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