2019.12.11 12:00

Company in Lithuania's largest corruption case wins reputation lawsuit against MP

Saulius Jakučionis, BNS2019.12.11 12:00

MG Baltic, a business group embroiled in Lithuania's biggest corruption case, won a reputation case against MP Vytautas Bakas who likened to corporation to an organised criminal group and said it caused damage to the state.

Vilnius Regional Court on Tuesday upheld the decision by a lower court in January 2019 that Bakas' statement about MG Baltic did not reflect the reality and did damage to its business reputation.

Vilnius Regional Court is also hearing a political corruption case, with suspicions brought against several politicians, MG Baltic's former vice-president, and the business group itself. MP Bakas led a parliamentary investigation several years ago, which concluded that MG Baltic posed a threat to Lithuanian national security. The business group called the probe "a political farce".

Read more: MG Baltic owner calls Lithuania's biggest corruption trial 'political reprisal'

MG Baltic took Bakas, the then chairman of the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense, to court over his statements that the business group's activities bore signs of an organized criminal group and that it had caused around 500 million euros in damage to the state.

Although Bakas' statements made last year are viewed as an opinion, the "information on certain events, provided to the public, must be correct and based on facts," the court ruling reads.

Bakas also tried to convince the court that he cannot be held liable for his statement due to his legal immunity as an MP, protecting him from prosecution for his duties.

But the court underlined that Bakas' disputed thoughts were expressed during a media interview, and not related to his duties in the parliament.

However, instead of the 20,000 euros demanded by MG Baltic as compensation, the court ordered Bakas to only cover the legal costs of around 1,500 euros.

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