Lithuania’s corruption ring expended more than €400.000 to overturn judicial decisions

Lithuania launched a massive police operation on Wednesday detaining 26 citizens on corruption charges. Of the 26 detainees, eight were judges and five prominent lawyers participating in the corruption ring. The police crackdown took place after Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite suspended from duty the eight judges and lifted any immunities associated with their roles. The greatest case concerns an arrested judge from the Civil Cases Division of Lithuania’s Supreme Court, the leading anti-corruption institution in the country.

Prosecutor General Edvinas Pasilis argued that the police authorities untangled a criminal ring of corruption. The ring perpetrated a systematic violation of justice with under the table concessions being a frequent phenomenon. Zydrunas Bartkus, Director of Lithuania’s anti-corruption agency, portrayed financial evidence about donations of €1.000 up to €100.000 given in trances to judges, state officials and lawyers to overturn the original decisions of court trials. Of the accumulated evidence collected during the police operation, the net total of briberies purported to be given to justice officials exceeded the threshold of €400.000.

The crackdown took place concurrently across several offices and households with more than hundred security officials joining the ranks of Special Investigation Service (STT) to successfully carry out the intended operation. When the operation was concluded, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis posted an update on his personal profile in social media claiming that the Wednesday operation taught important lessons to Lithuanian society that the era of untouchables has long gone.

According to the results of a 2017 Eurobarometer survey, 93% of Lithuanian citizens criticised their state on the grounds of widespread corruption. The Eurobarometer survey ranked Lithuania in the fifth position within Europe, stepping only behind Greece, Spain, Cyprus and Croatia.

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