Borisov not packing his bags yet

  • 2004-01-08
  • By TBT staff
VILNIUS - Yuri Borisov, the millionaire businessman and presidential supporter who was stripped of his Lithuanian citizenship on Dec. 30 by the Constitutional Court, had yet to leave the Baltic country by Jan. 7 when The Baltic Times went to press, causing dismay among many government officials.

On Dec. 31 the state security department, acting on the basis of the court's decision, asked the migration department to include Borisov on the list of persons prohibited from entering the territory of Lithuania.
Borisov, hoping to avoid the humiliation of having to leave the country, applied for a permanent residence permit. The migration department said on Jan. 5 that it had received Borisov's application three days earlier after immigration officials reminded the businessman that he had to return his Lithuanian passport.
Because prosecutors had already seized Borisov's Lithuanian and Russian passports during the course of their ongoing investigation, in which the CEO of the Kaunas-based AviaBaltika company is accused of threatening the president, he will only be required to return his identification card, reports said.
If the migration department declines to issue Borisov a residence permit, he will have to leave the country.
However, many officials want Borisov to leave the country immediately and re-enter on a legal basis.
Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis told the Baltic News Service on Jan. 5, "I cannot understand why Borisov is still in Vilnius."
According to Valionis, the current rules do not provide for issuing a visa to a foreigner who is unlawfully located on Lithuanian territory. The minister said Borisov, who was the most generous sponsor of President Rolandas Paksas' election campaign a year ago, should present a visa application at a Lithuanian Embassy or consulate abroad, preferably in Moscow.
He also said that Borisov should receive a visa before applying for the residence permit.
However, Interior Minister Virgilijus Bulovas was quoted on Jan. 5 as saying that Borisov has stated he would not apply for a visa.
Several minister said that they were discussing the businessman's legal status.
But Valionis said, "There has never been a case when a person would be granted a visa after the State Security Department presents materials to declare a person unwanted in the country."
Prosecutor General Antanas Klimavicius echoed Valionis' sentiment, saying that "Lithuania does not want an unwanted person to live in Lithuania for a long time." In his words, Borisov's presence in the country was a matter of "days" or "weeks."
Under Lithuanian laws, an individual listed as persona non grata is first offered to leave the country himself. If he fails to do so he is then escorted to the state border by authorities.
Dainius Paukste, deputy director of the Migration Department, said such persons are often given "enough time" to leave the country.
When The Baltic Times went to press on Jan. 7, the Migration Department had not yet to decide whether Borisov should be listed as persona non grata.
Borisov had been a citizen of Lithuania prior to the infamous Paksas decree of last April. However, at the time he said needed Russian citizenship to do business in Russia where he has a helicopter repair company. When he accepted Russian citizenship he was forced to give up his Lithuanian one.
Borisov was Paksas' largest campaign financier, donating 1.2 million litas (350,000 euros) officially, though reports have claimed the actual number could be three times higher.
Lithuanian prosecutors have been investigating Borisov's AviaBaltika on suspicion that it was selling helicopter parts to Sudan, a country that has supported terrorists.