2019.10.31 14:00

Kaunas police chief suspended in corruption probe calls accusations against him 'inadequate'

BNS 2019.10.31 14:00

Darius Žukauskas, Kaunas' police chief who is being suspended from duties, has rejected the Lithuanian Police Department's accusations against him as "inadequate". 

The suspension of Kaunas' police chief comes amid an investigation in which Donatas Karalukas, a high-ranking police officer in Lithuania's second-biggest city, is suspected of taking more than 10,000 euros in bribes. Officers are now investigating a scheme of using forged documents to acquire various goods, including alcoholic beverages and car parts, abroad.

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

"I am hard to surprise, but the police leadership's inadequate allegations and [...] Police Commissioner General Linas Pernavas' suggestion that I should go into retirement [...] threw me off balance and deprived me of confidence in the working methods of the heads of the Police Department," he told BNS in a comment.

According to Žukauskas, successful investigations have been conducted and serious crimes have been resolved during his over 20 years of police service.

"Unfounded allegations [and] rumors – that is how I see this painful situation," he said. "Investigations are carried out during pre-trial investigations [or] internal investigations, not at news conferences," the officer said.

"I am calm and believe in the truth", he added.

Pernavas said earlier on Wednesday that Žukauskas, the Kaunas County Police chief, would be suspended from duties due to "a possible threat to the security of classified information entrusted to him".

He will be suspended while an internal investigation is conducted.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Wednesday the decision to suspend Žukauskas as "very strange, to say the least".

The prime minister noted that Žukauskashad been on parental leave. Skvernelis said he was surprised that Žukauskas' deputies, who were actually in charge in his absence, had escaped any criticism.

"The chief who has been on parental leave for around a year comes under criticism, while his deputies responsible for that area of ​​activity [...] are said to have nothing to do with that. This is a strange position on the part of the Police Department," he said.

The prime minister added that the Police Department had to control its units.