Paksas gang smeared Vilnius Bank

  • 2003-11-20
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - The chairman of Lithuania's parliamentary commission investigating allegations of ties between the presidential administration and criminal structures, Aloyzas Sakalas, said that President Rolandas Paksas' campaign sponsors contributed to the organized smear campaign of Vilniaus Bankas earlier this year.

"It came out that this had been a specially planed action, which Paksas' election sponsors contributed to. We are aware of this. I would not like to go into detail, they are being corrected," Sakalas told LNK television.
He also confirmed that the most generous financial supporter of the president's election campaign, Yury Borisov, and the presidential national security adviser Remigijus Acas, who was dismissed last week, knew about the action.
The parliamentary commission has listened to secret recording of telephone conversation between Borisov and Acas, where the latter warned Borisov to transfer accounts from Vilniaus Bankas since the bank could soon run into problems.
LNK television also reported that during the abovementioned conversation Acas indicated to Borisov that the account number to where money for an article discrediting Vilniaus Bankas should be transmitted.
In January this year prior to the second round of the presidential elections, the Vakaro Zinios newspaper published the article claiming that Vilniaus Bankas had run into serious financial difficulties and might collapse.
The allegations were so serious that then President Valdas Adamkus was forced to respond to the allegations in an impromptu press conference.
LNK said the scandal resulted in a loss of 500 million litas (145 million euros) in deposits at Vilniaus Bankas.
Paksas, who was a candidate at the time, noted in the paper that "the stability [of Vilniaus Bankas] praised by the authorities is just a house of cards."
Some 350,000 copies of the issue of Vakaro Zinios containing the article were published, though only some 40,000 copies of the newspaper were normally printed at the time.