VILNIUS – Several of the taped telephone conversations between the three lawmakers accused of corruption and Rubicon Group CEO Andrius Janukonis were published in the press on Saturday and cast a new shadow over the integrity of the Seimas (Lithuania's parliament).
The Lietuvos Rytas and Respublika dailies published Janukonis' conversations with the deputy speaker of Parliament, Vytenis Andriukaitis (social democrat), deputy chief of the oppositional Homeland Union party, Arvydas Vidziunas, MP Vytautas Kvietkauskas (social liberal) and Eligijus Masiulis, head of the oppositional Liberal and Center faction.
Lithuanian national radio also broadcast the conversations on Saturday.The conversations, released by order of Parliament's anti-corruption commission, were part of an investigation by the Special Investigation Service that began in March and focused on graft among lawmakers.
The Prosecutor General's Office had asked Parliament to strip three MPs of their immunity and thereby pave the way for a possible indictment on bribery. The Prosecutor General's Office has earlier reported to the parliament that Andriukaitis is suspected of having pocketing a bribe of 95,000 litas (28,000 euros), Kvietkauskas 25,000 litas and Vidziunas 40,000 litas for helping the Rubicon Group CEO adopt legal acts.
Still, the publicized conversations do not mention anything about money.The publicized transcripts show that Janukonis had talked with politicians about passing a law on heat economy, which had been vetoed by the president, and asked for mediation in getting financial support for a business project.
Respublika also published a facsimile showing that law enforcement officials had established that Andriukaitis mediated Janukonis' meeting with the leader of the ruling Social Democratic Party, Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas, on electricity distribution networks.
Parliament voted not to revoke their colleagues' immunity, though Andriukaitis later resigned his position so as to clear his name.
Anti-corruption commission chairwoman Nijole Steibliene told national radio on Saturday that other materials presented by prosecutors were scheduled to be made public next week, but members of Parliament must get acquainted with them first, the Baltic News Service reported.
Parliamentary Speaker Arturas Paulauskas has asked the commission to assess the materials by Aug. 2.
If it turns out that the MPs violated their oath of office or the constitution, impeachment might be initiated against them.