Lithuanian PM: some ministries, Employment Service felt pressure from business reps

  • 2020-06-03
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says several ministries and the Employment Service were among those that fell pressure from business representatives.

"As to influence, it was known that there were attempts (...) to put a kind of pressure not only on the transport minister, but also on the heads of other institutions, the Employment Service, some officials from other ministries," Skvernelis told reporters.

He was commenting on an illegal lobbying and influence peddling investigation in which Valdas Sutkus, the president of the Lithuanian Business Confederation (LVK), is a suspect.  

The prime minister noted that the investigation does not mean that all business associations "behave badly and violate the law."

"This is about individuals and the responsibility of these individuals should be assessed," he said.

Skvernelis sees the scandal as "a good opportunity to return to amendments to the Law on Lobbying Activities and the discussions we have already had in the Seimas".  

The Special Investigation Service (STT) said earlier on Wednesday that Sutkus is suspected, among other things, of having been paid to collect and make public negative information aimed at undermining the authority of former Transport Minister Rokas Masiulis and tarnishing his political reputation

Masiulis was replaced by Jaroslav Narkevic of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania–Christian Families Alliance as part of a Cabinet reshuffle following last July's presidential election. 

According to Skvernelis, the reshuffle was purely "a political decision" to give Cabinet portfolios to the coalition partner. 

"I hope that Mr. Sutkus had no influence on any other institutions that are involved in the appointment of one or another minister in this process," he said.