2021.07.27 15:24

Former politician Paleckis found guilty of spying for Russia

BNS2021.07.27 15:24

Algirdas Paleckis, a former Lithuanian journalist and politician, has been found guilty of spying for Russia and sentenced to six years in prison.

The sentence was pronounced on Tuesday by a court in Šiauliai, northern Lithuania.

Vilnius businessman Deimantas Bertauskas, who had pleaded guilty in the same case and testified, was exempted from criminal liability, Vytautas Joncas, spokesman for the court, told BNS.

Prosecutors had asked the court to sentences Paleckis to nine years in prison and exempt Bertauskas from criminal liability.

The ruling is not final and can be appealed with the Lithuanian Court of Appeals.

According to the Prosecutor General's Office, the defendants, acting in an organised group with a Russian intelligence officer and other Russian nationals, collected information for Russian intelligence in Lithuania between February 2017 and October 2018.

Read more: Former politician accused of spying for Russia to be released on bail

The information sought by Russian intelligence concerned Lithuanian officers and judges linked to the so-called January 13 case, in which Russian officials were tried for involvement in a Soviet military crackdown in Vilnius in January 1991.

“It is clear that Paleckis' and Bertauskas' activities on orders from the Russian special services were very dangerous, since they aided Russia's actions against the Republic of Lithuania,” the court ruling said.

According to the case, the defendants allegedly acted in exchange for monetary compensation. Additionally, Russia's services helped the defendants make contacts with Russian politicians and businesspeople.

Paleckis has denied charges and claimed he was collecting information for a journalist investigation.

Paleckis, a former diplomat, MP and leader of the Socialist People's Front party, was detained in 2018 on charges of spying for Russia.

Read more: Suspected Russian spy network found, Lithuania due to finish the case this year

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