Lithuanian drink-and-drive diplomat recalled from Riga

  • 2000-08-10
VILNIUS (BNS) - The Lithuanian minister of foreign affairs, Algirdas Saudargas, has signed the order to recall the first secretary from the Lithuanian Embassy in Latvia, Tomas Grybas, who had a car accident last month while driving under the influence of alcohol and refusing to cooperate with the police.

In mid-July, Grybas, 32, was driving a Volvo belonging to the embassy when it skidded off the road on the Salociai-Panevezys highway, currently under repairs, and hit a road barrier. The car came to a dangling stop on traffic security cables.

It is believed Grybas was traveling at a speed of 160 km per hour, twice the official speed limit.

At the Pasvalys regional police headquarters it was said that he appeared to have been under the influence of alcohol and refused to submit to a blood test. Officers said a half-empty container of alcohol was found in the vehicle, and that the driver couldn't stand up.

The ministry's information department director, Petras Zapolskas, said on Aug.7 that Grybas was also demoted in his diplomatic rank from second secretary to third for violating the diplomatic code of practice.

The punishment was suggested several weeks ago by the ministry's appraisal board. Demoting in rank is regarded as the most severe punishment to a diplomat.

The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry's appraisal board, and the ministry's secretary, Romualdas Kozyrovicius, said earlier that Grybas would have to leave the diplomatic service altogether if he commits any minor misdemeanor in future.