VILNIUS - The Lithuanian government announced last week that it had chosen to postpone its decision on whether it would approve the privatization of the sparkling-wine producer Alita. Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas said Dec. 10 that the planned closed-door meeting on Alita's privatization had been put off until a later date.
"The information received from the Prosecutor General's Office and the state security service should be considered thoroughly," Brazauskas said, referring to information that the presidential administration might have interfered in the sell-off.
The prime minister added that the Cabinet faced a question of "practical and legal evaluation" regarding the privatization outcome.
The government agencies responsible for the privatization of Lithuania's alcoholic distilleries have met increasing criticism for their handling of the deals. Aloyzas Sakalas, chairman of the special commission investigating the presidential scandal, announced last month that he had received information implicating interference in the privatization process by Paksas' advisers.
Sakalas had said that the Alita deal displayed "evidence of the influence of criminal structures."
Though the State Property Fund has already concluded a privatization agreement with a consortium of the company's current senior executives, the group had only placed the fourth largest offer in the bidding process.
Earlier this week, Alita announced its ambitions to increase its vodka market share to 25 percent early next year.