MP Gintaras Steponavičius of the Lithuanian Liberal Movement met with MG Baltic Vice-president Raimondas Kurlianskis to discuss illegal financing for his party and voted in favor of legislation benefiting the business group's interests, thus undermining the authority of the Seimas and disgracing the name of a lawmaker, the country's prosecutor general said on Tuesday as he asked the parliament to strip the parliamentarian of his legal immunity over a possible abuse of powers.
Raimundas Kurlianskis ir Gintaras Steponavičius
© DELFI montažas

In his address to the Seimas, Evaldas Pašilis mentioned two meetings between Steponavičius and Kurlianskis in 2015 and 2016 and two votes in the parliament.

According to the prosecutor general, Steponavičius and Kurlianskis agreed on Oct. 29, 2015 that MG Baltic companies would transfer money into accounts of Laisvės Studijų Centras (Centre for Liberty Studies), a think-tank linked to the Liberal Movement, and of the Gintaras Steponavičius Support Foundation, thus illegally financing the party's activities.

Following the meeting, Steponavičius voted in favor of amendments to the Law on Consumer Credit and abstained from voting on an Utena-Vilnius highway project, Pašilis said.

On Jan. 11, 2016, Steponavičius and Kurlianskis discussed details of illegal financing for the Liberal Movement. MG Baltic Media in February transferred 10,000 euros to Laisvės Studijų Centras and 5,000 euros to the support foundation, the prosecutor general said.

Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the Seimas, last week called on Steponavičius to resign, but the lawmaker said that he would not step down and that he was asking the parliament to lift his immunity as quickly as possible so that he could use legal means to defend himself.

A commission is likely to be appointed on Tuesday to look into the prosecutor's request to strip Steponavičius of his immunity from criminal prosecution.

As part of a political corruption probe, law-enforcement officials last year brought suspicions against Eligijus Masiulis, a former chairman of the Liberal Movement, of accepting a bribe of over 100,000 euros from Kurlianskis in exchange for his political party acting for the business group's benefit.

Officials also suspect that Kurlianskis sought to influence members of the Labour Party via Vytautas Gapšys, a former member of the Seimas. In the case, suspicions have been brought against the vice-president and MG Baltic as a legal entity.

MG Baltic has dismissed the suspicions as abuse by prosecutors of their rights and psychological pressure.

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