Mayor of Druskininkai Ričardas Malinauskas has admitted giving money to contractors who were working on a property that has been the subject of an anti-corruption investigation. He still denies that he is the owner of the property, insisting he was only mediating.
Ričardas Malinauskas
© DELFI (R. Achmedovo nuotr.)

"What's wrong if a person, who lives in a different town, asked me to mediate and help out?" Malinauskas told TV3 news programme on Monday night.

Pressed whether he paid contractors working in the so-called Vijūnėlė manor, Malinauskas said: "The owner asked to pass the money, so I took it and passed it on."

Earlier on Monday, Malinauskas was questioned by Special Investigation Service investigators who are probing allegedly questionable motives behind a government decree legalizing construction in the southern Lithuanian resort town.

Investigators suspect that a government decision to lift zoning requirements in Druskininkai might have been influenced by personal interests.

Last September, the government approved an emergency resolution to scrap the 1992 chapter on buffer zones of resorts. The hasty resolution served as a basis for a Vilnius court to hand down a positive verdict for construction in Druskininkai.

The verdict concerned a 600-square-metre residential building in the centre of Druskininkai that was built in 2013 in the place of a burnt-down boating facility.

The Prosecutor General's Office suspected that construction permissions issued by local authorities breached the law and asked a court to revoke them. The property owner, Žilvinas Pavilonis, has been linked to Malinauskas, the town's mayor.

Environment Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas was questioned as a special witness by the Special Investigation Service last week. Officers also said they wanted to interview Prime Minister Arlgirdas Butkevičius as a regular witness.

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