Lithuanian Blood Center chief suspected of helping businesses monopolize plasma collection
Joana Bikulčienė, top executive of the Lithuanian National Blood Center who has been detained for two weeks, is suspected of aiming to help a private company to monopolize the collection of blood plasma and supply of blood constituents in Lithuania.
"A group of accomplices is suspected of aiming to taking over and monopolizing the collection of blood plasma in Lithuania and supplies of blood constituents to Lithuania's health care institutions. This would discriminate and eliminate other Lithuanian and foreign economic entities that would have been able to take part in fair competition in tenders for contracts with the National Blood Center," the Prosecutor General's Office said in a press release on Monday.
Bikulčienė is suspected of taking advantage of her official position, influence peddling and acting in a group of accomplices in organizing and assisting large-scale commercial and professional activities without a license.
In the probe of the Special Investigation Service (STT), suspicions were brought against two more individuals – sole shareholder and director of a yet unnamed private company who are suspected of inciting and assisting abuse and influence peddling.
According to the press release, the private company works in the field of personal health care, collection of medical supplies and production of medical products, distribution of pharmaceutical items.
After detention by STT last Friday, Bikulčienė has been arrested for 14 days, while the shareholder will be in detention for two months and the company's director has been released on a written pledge not to leave the country.
Homes and offices of the suspects have been searched.
Under the Penal Code, abuse and influence peddling can be punished by a fine or up to seven years in prison, while economic, commercial, financial or professional operations without a proper license can be punished by public work or a fine, restriction of freedom or up to four years in prison.
The investigation is headed and controlled by a Vilnius prosecutor in charge of organized crime and corruption.