Karbauskis says he criticizes Jakilaitis as businessman, not as journalist
Ramūnas Karbauskis, leader of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LVŽS), says that he has never criticized Edmundas Jakilaitis for his activities as a journalist and that he has turned to the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) over possible unfair business practices.
The politician commented on plans by Jakilaitis, a famous TV producer and show host, to go to court over his alleged persecution by Karbauskis for criticizing the ruling party and its leader.
"I take it as a kind of joke. I've never complained about him as a journalist," Karbauskis told BNS on Wednesday.
"I understand that a person who is doing very badly in business and whose business comes under investigation by the European Anti-Fraud Office has something to worry about, but what does that have to do with me?" the politician said.
"I have turned (to OLAF) because there are signs of fraud. If that body hadn't launched its probe, one could say whatever one wanted. But, apparently, I was right to see problems," he added. "Nobody is persecuting him. But if you are a business person, then do your business fairly."
Jakilaitis said earlier in the day that a lawsuit was being prepared regarding the behavior of Karbauskis and other LVŽS members.
Jakilaitis claims that he and his family are being persecuted over his criticism of Karbauskis and his party for their political activities, possible links to non-transparent business practices and possible violations related to Russian fertilizer imports.
The journalist says that he will submit to court "politicians and other people's correspondence received from trustworthy sources and other evidence “.
The LVŽS's political group in the Seimas said in a statement on Tuesday that OLAF had decided to open an investigation into whether Lithuanian public establishment Pirmoji Kava and production company TV Play (now Nordplay) complied with EU funding rules in their deals on the Lithuanian Children of the Millennium TV show.
According to the LVŽS, the EU body took the decision after examining information provided by Karbauskis.
Jakilaitis is a shareholder of Nordplay.