News2019.10.30 15:00

After foreign tip-off, Lithuanian officers probe police corruption in Kaunas

Jonas Kisielius, BNS 2019.10.30 15:00

Lithuania's police is carrying out an international investigation into police corruption in the country's second-largest city of Kaunas, prosecutor Vytautas Kukaitis told a press conference at the Police Department on Wednesday.

Kukaitis said the investigation uncovered a scheme of using forged documents to acquire various goods, including alcoholic beverages and car parts, abroad. The value of goods exceeds 300,000 euros.

"The investigation has moved forward, with three new pre-trial investigations on serious crimes launched," the prosecutor said. According to him, the police is investigation "international fraud, money laundering when acting in a criminal group with links to groups operating abroad, and also related to smuggling".

According to Kukaitis, detention periods for members of the organised groups have been extended.

"It turns out that the majority of evidence was received from foreign countries. The Criminal Police Bureau is in direct contact with the French Gendarmerie, the Spanish internal affairs attaché, as well Belgian, Danish and German law enforcement," Kukaitis said.

Police Commissioner General Linas Pernavas also said during the press conference that Kaunas Police chief Darius Žukauskas would be removed from his position.

Five people are currently detained, with suspicions brought against more than a dozen of people. They also include foreign citizens.

"Following the launch of the pre-trial investigation, officers of the Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau are receiving additional information on the theft of car parts and their wide-scale seizure abroad," Kukaitis said.

Car parts acquired abroad were sold in Lithuania by an organized group. "Today, I will sign an order on the removal of Darius Žukauskas from this position," Pernavas said, due to the threat to classified information.

Pernavas said he ordered the police's Immunity Board to launch an internal investigation into Žukauskas' ability to work and get acquainted with classified information.

In early October, Donatas Karalukas, the head of the third division of the Economic Crime Investigation Board of Kaunas County Chief Police Commissariat, was detained at his workplace, suspected of having covered up illegal business and received bribes worth more than 10,000 euros.

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