VILNIUS - The State Security Department and the police carried out a search of the Vilnius offices of Lietuvos Telekomas, the country's fixed-line telephone operator, on Sept. 8 in what officials described as "procedural steps."
The investigation was initiated after prosecutors asked for court sanctions to conduct a search and seizure of the telecommunications firm, which was allegedly collecting information illegally, prosecutor general Antanas Klimavicius told the Baltic News Service.
Law enforcement officials were reportedly looking to see if the firm's technical equipment and software had been used to gather information on private matters.
Several political leaders have corroborated the information, hinting to the media that an unnamed private company had attempted to illegally obtain information from law enforcement databases.
Parliamentary Speaker Arturas Paulauskas told journalists that the investigation 's for equipment that could have been used for the unlawful collection of data 's was only "partly" related to national security.
The stock market showed little reaction to the news the following day, with Lietuvos Telekomas shares trading for 1.75 litas (0.5 euro), unchanged from the closing price on Sept. 8.
"I don't think the latest scandal will have any major effect on Lietuvos Telekomas' share price," said Laurynas Byla, a financial analyst at the brokerage company Jusu Tarpininkas. "Large investors who recently have been actively buying into the stock will only benefit if this scandal sparks selling activity in the market."
Donatas Frejus, a financial broker at Finasta, said the operator's share price reacted less to the news than Mazeikiu Nafta, the Yukos-owned oil company.
"Buyers of Lietuvos Telekomas stock are much bigger. You can't speculate if you hold only a few thousand shares. Mazeikiu Nafta's share price is more susceptible to pressure," Frejus explained.
Lietuvos Telekomasis is 60 percent owned by the Scandinavian telecommunication group TeliaSonera through its subsidiary, Amber Teleholding. For compensation purposes, the Lithuanian State Property Fund, which holds a 4.56 percent stake in Lietuvos Telekomas, has allocated the shares under the government's property restitution scheme.
Lietuvos Telekomas market capitalization stood at 1.4 billion litas on Sept. 8.