VILNIUS - Lithuanian media were abuzz with speculation last week after a leading newspaper reported that Kaunas kingpins had taken a contract out on one of the country's top crime fighters and a leading lawmaker.
However, Police Commissioner General Vytautas Grigaravicius stated on April 9 that information that his life was under threat by Kaunas mobsters was groundless.
Lietuvos Rytas, the country's number one daily, stated in that day's issue that officers in the special Aras unit had received information on April 7 that Kaunas gangs, feeling battered by law enforcement agencies, were arranging to kill Grigaravicius and Alvydas Sadeckas, chairman of the parliamentary national security and defense committee.
The news was immediately reported to police, who at once warned the public targets. The source of the information did not, however, specify when and how these officials would be killed but stressed that the threats were in response to police attempts to combat local gangs.
Interior Minister Gintaras Furmanavicius confirmed that similar information had been received, but he refrained from any detailed comments.
"This is information that relates to an investigation and is not the subject of any comments. I will not disclose the facts that I know. I know who is threatened and what the threat is," Furmanavicius told TV3 television.
Yet shortly afterward, Grigaravicius broadcast over national radio that such information had proved to be groundless. He added that, to ensure security, he had been advised to change his regular traveling routes.
"Yesterday [April 8] had been marked as a day that something would happen. Nothing happened, that is all," Grigaravicius emphasized.
In his words, officers had received information from Kaunas regarding a "scheme being underway." Grigaravicius added that a politician in charge of law and order was also targeted, although the name of that person was not given.
"The politician was not named, but there was talk that some provocation would be staged against a well-known political figure," the police commissioner said.