PM didn’t breach law by not declaring wife's Swedbank stocks, watchdog rules

Saulius Skvernelis

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis did not breach the law when he failed to declare his wife's Swedbank shares, the Chief Official Ethics Commission of Lithuania has ruled.

It said the shares should be considered as part of the prime minister's wife's pay package as she works at the bank, and not as involvement in the legal person.

"The Commission has decided to drop the investigation," its spokeswoman Eglė Ivanauskaitė told BNS Lithuania.

The watchdog ruled that the prime minister did not breach the law when he failed to declare his wife's investment tranches in Swedbank's investment fund. "Such investment is not considered the investor's direct tie with the legal person," Ivanauskaitė said.

The Commission, however, recommended that the prime minister should include information on his wife's Swedbank shares into his declaration of public and private interests so that it matched information in his assets and income declaration, which Skvernelis pledged to do.

"My wife did not do any new transactions, did not buy any shares, she just received an annual bonus. Just like hundreds of other employees. And, as I said, it's stated in the income and assets declaration," the prime minister said in a statement issued by the government press service.

"The connection with my wife's employer has long been declared in the public and private interest declaration and has been known for a while, but if that bonus, as the Commission said, needs to be additionally declared, it will be done so," Skvernelis said.

According to the 15min.lt news website, the Commission earlier looked into this information and concluded that the prime minister had to declare that his wife is a Swedbank shareholder, but failed to vote on the launch of an investigation.

The watchdog said earlier that the head of government stated in his declaration of private interests that his wife works for Swedbank, he has a deposit in this bank, received a mortgage from this bank and has an insurance agreement with this bank, which is enough to identify a potential risk of a conflict of interests.

The prime minister's wife has Swedbank shares worth around 7,000 euros.

Source: BNS
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