Lithuania's Minister of Healthcare Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė is being investigated for allegedly demanding bribes from hospitals in exchange for EU support, 15min.lt reports.
Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė
© DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

The Special Investigation Service (STT) and the Prosecutor General's Office has been conducting the investigation into Šalaševičiūtė's actions for some time, looking into corrupt ties between the minister and management in several hospitals, according to 15min.lt.

Šalaševičiūtė is suspected of demanding bribes from hospitals applying for EU funding. The European money is distributed by the Ministry of Healthcare.

Prosecutor General Evaldas Pašilis told the news portal that the investigation had been opened before his appointment to the post last December. He said he did not want to reveal more details about the ongoing probe.

The Prosecutor General's Office said on Friday that Šalaševičiūtė was questioned this week as a witness in an investigation centred around suspected corruption in Šiauliai hospital.

Prosecutor Gintas Ivanauskas, who is in charge of the probe, said he would not give more details in order not to impede the investigation.

The Transparency Group of the Social Democratic Party released a statement on Friday, urging Minister Šalaševičiūtė, a Social Democrat, to resign.

Šalaševičiūtė also made headlines on Thursday when, during a radio interview about small-scale corruption in the healthcare system, she revealed, in a throw-away remark, that she had herself once offered a small bribe to a doctor who operated on her relative.

This episode has also caught the attention of the STT. It summoned the minister on Friday morning.

"The minister was in our office in the morning; we are checking the information," STT director Saulius Urbanavičius told BNS. In his words, the service has not yet decided on the need to start a pre-trial investigation.

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