Lithuanian president sees BaltCap scandal as lesson, 'path to cleansing'

  • 2024-02-22
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – President Gitanas Nauseda believes that the case of Sarunas Stepukonis, BaltCap Infrastructure Fund's former partner arrested on suspicions of having embezzled and gambled away millions of euros of the fund's money, should serve as a lesson to prevent such incidents from recurring in the future.

Nauseda drew a parallel between the BaltCap scandal and Grigeo Klaipeda's Curonian Lagoon pollution case.

"The lesson is a good one, but sometimes it might be useful to be given a lesson, just like in environmental issues, because if it weren't for the Grigeo scandal, we might have all pretended that everything is fine and that there is no pollution in the Curonian Lagoon," the president told reporters in Vilnius on Thursday.

"But when such scandals arise, it means, first of all, that we are cleansing ourselves and noticing what we have done wrong, and noticing crimes," he said. 

"Even though the negative connotation may be prevailing at the moment, this is a path to cleansing ourselves and finding ways to prevent such things from happening in the future," the president added.

Asked whether the state should take measures in the wake of the BaltCap scandal to better protect people's money in pension funds, Nauseda said that people can trust the pension accumulation system, but agreed that supervision could be tightened.

"No doubt, tightening controls is one of the ways," he said. "I think that people can trust the system, but we still have to do a lot to make sure that this confidence is based on real actions, not on promises." 

Stepukonis is said to have embezzled around 40 million euros in BaltCap Infrastructure Fund companies' money and lost most of it gambling at casinos. As a result of this, Lithuanian pension funds' management companies that invested in the fund are believed to have lost around 3 million euros.