Lithuania's Special Investigation Service (STT) broke the news on Monday that it was investigating suspected influence peddling that involves the leader of a ruling party, the head of a major media group and a grocery supermarket chain. Here are the key facts:
Special Investigations Service
© DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

1. Two episodes. The STT is looking into possible influence exerted on the State Territorial Planning and Construction Inspectorate under the Ministry of Environment in an attempt to legalize a Norfa shop in Prienai; another episode concerns alleged pressure to get an undisclosed large-scale fraud probe, being carried out by the Financial Investigation Service, dropped.

2. Suspects. Suspicions of trade in influence have been brought against Gedvydas Vainauskas, one of the shareholders of the Lietuvos Rytas daily and its editor-in-chief, and Antanas Zabulis, the prime minister's public consultant and former head of Omnitel mobile operator.

Dainius Dundulis, head of Norfa supermarket network, Rolandas Paksas, head of the Order and Justice party, Environment Vice-Minister Algirdas Genevičius and several staff members of the State Territorial Planning and Construction Inspectorate have been questioned as special witnesses.

Gedgaudas Vainauskas, Rolandas Paksas
Gedgaudas Vainauskas, Rolandas Paksas

3. Response. After being questioned on Monday, Paksas said there was a threat to democracy in Lithuania. The news website, owned by the Lietuvos Rytas group, cited lawyers accusing law enforcement of waging a PR campaign. Meanwhile the prime minister plans to relieve Zabulis of his public consultant duties and sees no problem for the coalition to continue working, despite one of the coaltion partners being subject to a criminal investigation.

Antanas Zabulis
Antanas Zabulis
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas
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