2020.05.26 17:30

Lithuanian businessman gets whistleblower status over report on minister

Vaidotas Beniušis, BNS 2020.05.26 17:30

Lithuanian businessman Aleksandras Ribnikovas has received a whistleblower’s status from the prosecutors after reporting alleged corruption by Transport Minister Jeroslav Narkevič.

The country’s Prosecutor General's Office concluded that the “actions of Narkevič and other responsible persons [...] allegedly include offences related to unlawful or non-transparent use of public funds or assets".

Ribnikovas, the owner of a construction company Sodžiaus Būstas, claimed Narkevič helped him win public tender contracts in exchange for renovating Narkevič's family house for free.

Read more: Lithuanian minister wrestled personal favours for public contracts – LRT investigation

"It can be reasonably concluded that the person who reported the offence and his provided information meet the requirements of the Law on the Protection of Whistleblowers," according to the document, dated March 12 and seen by BNS.

The Prosecutor General's Office does not comment on whether a person has been granted the status of a whistleblower.

Under the law, a whistleblower can be exempt from liability for taking part in offences and can receive remuneration for valuable information and free legal assistance.

The minister has called the businessman's allegation part of an organised smear campaign.

Read more: Lithuania's ruling parties allege foreign interference in reports on minister