Lithuanian Liberal Movement makes fresh attempt to refute intelligence info

Liberal Movement board at a meeting

The opposition Lithuanian Liberal Movement continues to search for arguments to refute information in a State Security Department (VSD) report that the party was controlled by MG Baltic, one of the country's largest business groups.

Eugenijus Gentvilas, chairman of the Liberal Movement, notes that Gediminas Grina, a former director of VSD, helped the Liberals to draft their election program and that Sigitas Butkus, Grina's former deputy for counterintelligence, joined the party in 2015.

"According to the services, information (...) had been continuously collected since the very establishment of the Liberal Movement. If that is true, then why did the former VSD chief (...) help the Liberals to draw up the national defense and security part of their election program, which was before (the Liberal Movement's ex-leader Eligijus) Masiulis' arrest? Why did his former deputy join the party?" Gentvilas said in a statement on Monday.

Grina confirmed to BNS that he had advised the Liberal Movement on the program, but said there was nothing special about that.

"We advised almost all the parties that showed interest in national security and defense issues," he said.

The former VSD director would not say if he knew about the material regarding MG Baltic's influence on the party.

"This is classified," he said.

Butkus ran in the 2016 general elections on the Liberal Movement's list.

In its report to the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense, VSD says that the Liberal Movement was a long-term political project of MG Baltic, fully controlled by the business group's executives and aimed at forcing its competitors out of the construction market in Vilnius.

The Liberal Movement was founded in 2006 after part of members of the then Liberal and Center Union were ousted from or left the party amid disagreements with its leader, Artūras Zuokas.

Source: BNS
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