The Lithuanian parliament, Seimas, has turned down prosecutors' request to strip MP Petras Gražulis of immunity from prosecution. Tuesday's motion to lift the legal immunity of Gražulis, who is investigated in the so-called Judex case, was supported by 65 lawmakers, falling short of the required 71.
Earlier in the day, a Seimas commission decided to propose that the parliament should satisfy Prosecutor General Evaldas Pašilis' request to strip Gražulis of his immunity. The commission made the decision by a vote of six to five.
Prosecutors want to bring suspicions of abuse of office against Gražulis in a case centering around Judex, a Kaunas-based frozen food company.
The Prosecutor General's Office is conducting a pre-trial investigation into abuse of office, fraudulent bookkeeping, influence peddling, document forgery and bribery.
Suspicions have already been brought against Rimantas Kicas, a former director of Judex. Gražulis would have become a second suspect, had the parliament allowed him to be prosecuted.
In 2015, Russian officials found listeria in Judex products. Based on the law enforcement information, Gražulis helped Judex to resolve its problems and called Lithuanian and Russian officials several times, encouraged them to pay bribes and asked to breach the existing procedures.
Gražulis has denied any wrongdoing, saying the prosecutors want to bring suspicions against him based on false information.
Gražulis has gained notoriety for his fierce anti-LGBT+ stance. In 2013, police officers had to carry Gražulis from the venue of an LGBT+ march.