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2019.09.17 15:30

Seimas moves closer to launching probe into MP's ties with Russian diplomats

BNS2019.09.17 15:30

The Lithuanian parliament has taken a step toward launching an investigation into MP Irina Rozova's ties with Russian diplomats and the failure of politicians who knew about these ties to take any action.

A motion to give the Seimas Committee on National Security and Defence (NSGK) the mandate of an ad hoc commission to carry out the parliamentary investigation passed the first reading in the parliament on Tuesday with 77 votes in favour, four against and 12 abstentions.

The issue will now be discussed in the NSGK. The final decision will be made by the full parliament, which will require two more votes to pass the motion.

If the Seimas gives the go-ahead, the committee will likely be given until November 6 to complete its investigation into Rozova's activities and her ties that potentially pose a threat to national security.

The committee would also look into whether Speaker of the Seimas Viktoras Pranckietis and the then NSGK chairman, Vytautas Bakas, responded adequately to a report on Rozova by the State Security Department, and whether information in this report was not used for political manipulation.

Rozova allegedly tried to hide her ties with Russian diplomats and supplied misleading information to the State Security Department when applying for a permit to work with classified intelligence. The Seimas committee would look into whether this is enough to impeach the MP.

Impeachment may also be considered for politicians who knew about Rozova's ties and did not take necessary action. Seimas Speaker Pranckietis would be under scrutiny.

The State Security Department submitted the report to Pranckietis in January 2018, recommending not to give Rozova access to classified information.

The department said in the document that Rozova and Russian diplomats had discussed financial assistance to her party, the Russian Alliance.

According to the intelligence information, the lawmaker discussed with Russian diplomats possibilities of forming a political organisation representing the country's ethnic minorities jointly with the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance.

The report says that Rozova tried to get Russian diplomats involved in an effort to influence the formation of a ruling coalition at Vilnius City Council eight years ago and that the she had contacts with Russian Consul General Vladimir Malygin who was sent out of Lithuania in 2014.

Rozova is a member of the Russian Alliance and of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance's political group in the Seimas.

Objective investigation

After the vote in parliament, Rozova said she expected the investigation into her ties with Russian diplomats would be objective.

“There will be an investigation. I think it will be objective. I will provide all the data," she told reporters on Tuesday.”

“I believe the commission will clarify everything,” Rozova added.

Disloyal people in Seimas

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said he backed the move to investigate the issue.

“We definitely need to investigate [...] and that is probably one of the areas where parliamentary control [...] really serves it's purpose,” Nausėda told reporters in Rukla.

“We cannot allow ourselves the luxury of potentially having people who are not very loyal to the state [in parliament],” the president said, adding that the allegations had to be proven first.

Nausėda also called for disclosing which members of parliament were barred from working with classified information.