Seimas to conduct probe of suspected influence to politicians, institutions

Lithuania's parliament on Thursday authorized the National Security and Defense Committee to conduct an inquiry into possibly unlawful influence upon politicians , political processes and state institutions.

The bid to assign the probe to the committee was supported by 80 of Lithuania's 141 parliamentarians, while two were against and nine abstained. The committee is to present its conclusion by May 1.

MP Povilas Urbšys of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union said that the parliamentary decision would finally make it clear whether the parliament is "mature enough to liberate the state from the grip of political corruption or will yet again transform the probe of political corruption into a political show."

Meanwhile, Social Democratic MP said that "such probes not only raise inside tensions but also set people of Lithuania against each other, making them question our loyalty to the state of Lithuania."

Operating as an ad hoc commission, the National Security and Defense Committee will work to establish whether "contacts with persons who may threaten state interests were aimed at unlawfully influencing decisions made by state institutions or unlawfully influencing politicians and/or political processes," as well as "financing cases of political parties and individual politicians that can threaten state interests when there were attempts to unlawfully influence decisions made by state institutions or unlawfully influencing politicians and/or political processes."

The probe was initiated by the committee's chief Vytautas Bakas based on an earlier inquiry on Social Democratic MP Mindaugas Bastys' ties with persons working for Russia. Bastys now faces impeachment after the parliament listed his ties as national security threat.

Source: BNS
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