Prosecutors issue European warrant for Uspaskich

  • 2006-09-13
  • Staff and wire reports
VILNIUS - The Prosecutor General's Office has issued a European warrant for the arrest of former Labor Party leader Viktor Uspaskich, who is currently in Russia.

Laima Cekeliene, chief prosecutor of the international relations and legal assistance division of the Prosecutor General's Office, said the arrest warrant would be sent to EU member states through Interpol, and if Uspaskich comes to an EU country from Russia, he will be detained there and extradited to Lithuania.
Uspaskich is suspected of submitting fraudulent Labor Party income data to the State Tax Inspectorate and Central Electoral Committee.

The Migration Department is currently working to ascertain whether or not Uspaskich has Russian citizenship.
The former Labor Party leader lost the posts of economy minister and parliamentarian in the wake of scandals involving a conflict of interest case in Russia. Uspaskich earlier said that he was not in Russia and that he did not trust Lithuanian law enforcement agencies.
He recently claimed that he never had Russian citizenship, a statement which surprised many. If he did, he would be deprived of his Lithuanian citizenship, since the constitution forbids such a scenario.

Meanwhile, President Valdas Adamkus said he was not surprised by a slander campaign against Lithuania's state institutions and leaders that, according to the State Security Department, may intensify. In a statement issued on Sept. 7, the department warned about attacks organized by Uspaskich.
"I saw the statement 's I was not surprised at all," Adamkus told reporters. "I think we will see and hear even more. 'Black' information seems to have been planned and has started working. I am convinced that we will hear even worse fanatic things, which, in my opinion, we will be able to read as an interesting novel."

The security department, which is currently under intense scrutiny (see story on Page 1), said it wanted "to inform the public about new well-funded 'black' information attacks and public relations actions that serve as revenge against state institutions for incriminating a Lithuanian politician hiding in Moscow," a reference to Uspaskich.
According to the statement, "Today we know that there will be attempts to disseminate this and similar disinformation, and that there are intentions to publish extracts of a book written by [Uspaskich], which include possible statements by him in some TV broadcasts. This is all in an effort to compromise the country's president and state institutions."