VILNIUS - The name of ex-Deputy Chairman of the Seimas (Lithuania's parliament) Vytenis Andriukaitis has joined the list of the two other ex-MPs involved with the ongoing parliamentary corruption scandal in receiving legal charges.
After an interrogation on Aug. 13, general prosecutors indicted Andriukaitis for accepting a 95,000 litas (27,500 euro) bribe from Andrius Janukonis, chief executive of the Rubicon Group conglomerate.
The three former lawmakers - Andriukaitis, Vytautas Kviet-kauskas and Arvydas Vidziunas - unanimously deny all addressed charges.
While refuting the suspicions, Vidziunas described the scandal as a "fairy tale of the Special Investigation Service."
Andriukaitis was believed to be in a better situation now that the charges have finally been addressed. He was particularly pleased with receiving access to investigation material collected by general prosecutors between 2001 and 2004.
"I am sure that I will be able to refute all charges and to defend my honor," Andriukaitis told the press.
According to the penal code, Andriukaitis may be facing a two- to eight-year prison sentence if the suspicions are proven in court.
Evidence points to the possibility that Andriukaitis received payback from Janukonis in five installments.
The largest payment of 25,000 litas was given to him in exchange for changes he rammed through the national heating law. Records also show that Andriukaitis met with Janukonis on a regular basis in different settings, ranging from outside the Seimas building to Janukonis' home.
Earlier this month, Andriu-kaitis expressed his wish to return to Parliament and participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Neither of the other two accused lawmakers, however, followed Andriukaitis' example.
Andriukaitis said he believed that current events would not influence his future political carrier and linked the situation to a ten-year-old case where the main suspect was current Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas.
"As you can see, while under suspicion Algirdas Brazauskas won the presidential elections - so this could happen to anyone," said a confident Andriukaitis.
In late July, Andriukaitis, who ran in the 2002 presidential election and was a prominent figure in the ruling Social Democratic Party, renounced his parliamentary mandate and was dismissed from the ruling Social Democratic Party.