Lithuanian panel to focus on 'dark money' allegedly used during last presidential election

  • 2023-12-07
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – As the State Security Department's whistleblower Tomas Gailius on Wednesday testified to the Seimas' temporary inquiry commission about the possible non-transparent financing of the 2019 presidential election, the commission now plans to pay more attention to investigating whether the campaign in question could in fact have been financed by dark money.

Gailius, a former SSD officer, claimed he had seen information on the possible non-transparent financing of the 2019 presidential election campaign when he worked for the intelligence service.

"Yes, I saw such information while working for the department," Gailius, who decided to no longer hide his identity, told the commission in public testimony, asked by Vytautas Bakas, who chairs the commission.

Neither Bakas, nor Gailius named a particular candidate.

Gailius said he could not comment further on the question during a public hearing as it was classified information, and he only confirmed that he was really talking about the 2019 presidential election. The commission now plans to go deeper into this issue when Gailius testifies in private.


Speaking with BNS on Thursday, Bakas said that the possible non-transparent financing of the 2019 presidential election campaign will now be an investigation priority.

"That line of inquiry, I think, will now be a priority, and we will go deeper into it, it is one of the serious versions of the commission's investigation that dark money may have been used during the presidential election campaign," Bakas said.

He said he could not answer where the suspicious moment came from, from Lithuania or outside, and only said that if the commission confirmed that, the public would be informed about this, despite the material currently under investigation being confidential.

He also could not say whether President Gitanas Nauseda or other candidates' election campaigns were referred to in the context of non-transparent financing.

Set up in October, the commission is, among other things, tasked to assess the financing costs of all candidates during the 2019 presidential election campaign and compare information to the monitoring data made public at the time.

The commission is also expected to find out what influence persons involved in Belarusian fertilizer business had on Nauseda, his election campaign staff and advisers, and what role they played in the campaign.


The temporary parliamentary inquiry commission is also looking into the whistleblower's provided information about the SSD leadership's actions in checking Nauseda's inner circle when he was running for president.

Gailius told the commission on Wednesday he turned to politicians four years ago because he suspected that his superiors might have committed "a disciplinary offense or even a crime".

Gailius also said that when presenting to Darius Jauniskis, the SSD director, the material collected by his team on Nauseda's inner circle, he realized that the confidential information could be disclosed to a person who had no right to access it

Following Gailius' testimony, the SSD confirmed on Wednesday that it followed the law when it vetted Nauseda's team when he was still a presidential candidate.

The issue of transparency of Nauseda's election campaign financing is raised in The Whistleblower and the President a book published early this year and partly based on Gailius' testimony.