Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD), the eurosceptic political group in the European Parliament, has distanced itself from suggestions that it might have something to do with books smearing Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė that were distributed to all EP members last month.
© DELFI

"The distribution of the book Red Dalia has never been an initiative of the EFDD Group. Furthermore, the EFDD Group has never given any kind of support to it," the group said in a statement that was further issued in Lithuania by the Order and Justice party.

The statement also said that "in the event that the documents suggest any unacceptable or unauthorized initiatives by any one or more individuals, they will be subject to an internal review and adequate follow-up within the EFDD Group."

Lithuanian Liberal MEP Antanas Guoga said earlier that the European Parliament's security had identified a representative of the EFDD office as well as a Russian citizen and a Moscow-born Polish citizen as the ones who put English-language editions of the book by Lithuanian journalist Rūta Janutienė into MEPs' mailboxes.

Lithuanian MEPs Rolandas Paksas and Valentinas Mazuronis, both members of the EFDD group, have also distanced themselves from the distribution of the book.

Meanwhile, Janutienė says her book - which gives an unflattering biography of President Grybauskaitė, accusing her of soviet collaboration - was translated into English without her knowledge or permission.

Links to Marine Le Pen

DELFI has discovered that surveillance footage from the European Parliament shows four people putting copies of Red Dalia into MEPs' mailboxes. One of them is Kevin Ellul Bonici from Malta, a member of the EFDD office, while the other two, the Russian and the Polish nationals, were his guests at the European Parliament. The fourth person has not been identified.

Interestingly, Mr Ellul Bonici is the husband of Sharon Ellul Bonici, the general secretary of the European Alliance for Freedom, radical right-wing eurosceptic party that counts among its members French nationalist politician Marine Le Pen, vice president of the party. Le Pen has been a defender of Russia in the European Parliament.

Accusations between Lithuanian MEPs

In an interview to LRT radio, MEP Guoga said that suspicions for the smear campaign also fall on Lithuanian MEP Rolandas Paksas, member of the EFDD group.

Paksas, in his turn, responded to the comments by saying that "MEP Guoga must have lost his mind, or perhaps it is the moon phase" and threatened to sue.

Speaking live on LRT radio, Paksas also commented that Guoga should better "think of his family and kids".

"This is a direct threat to me and my family. I will consult with my team on how to react to Paksas' threats with legal means," he said, adding he might ask for protection.

He also said that Paksas does not have personal assistants in the EP and relies on EFDD adviser staff. According to Guoga, "those he works for" probably do not allow Paksas to have his own assistants.

"Paksas' reaction on the radio - suggestion that I think about my family and kids - is very revealing. It is a serious threat. He himself is afraid of the people who stand behind him, this might be the reason why he said that," according to Guoga. "I did not say anything that was not officially confirmed. We have received an official letter from the European Parliament about who distributed the books. Links to the EFDD are unmistakable. Only one person has not been identified. All of them entered the Parliament with the invitation from the group's adviser Bonici."

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