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Mayor of Druskininkai Ričardas Malinauskas has been questioned by investigators who are probing allegedly questionable motives behind a government decree legalizing construction in the southern Lithuanian resort town.
Ričardas Malinauskas
Ričardas Malinauskas
© DELFI (R. Achmedovo nuotr.)

Malinauskas, a social democrat, was questioned on Monday as a special witness by the Special Investigation Service. Special witness status usually means that there is evidence suggesting the individual might be involved in a crime, but not enough to indict.

"I regret - though I am not sure if I can say I'm sorry - that my person is being used to get at truly honourable and honest people," Malinauskas told reporters after an interview with investigators that lasted over four hours. He said the whole story was concocted by the opposition to smear the parties currently in power.

Investigators have also questioned Environment Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas and plan to interview Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius.

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 owners have 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.

BNS
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