Expenses claimed by several Freedom Party members have raised suspicions of abuse. Three current MPs, who were previously members of Vilnius City Council, used municipal funds to rent a smartwatch and hail taxis from night clubs, reports Delfi.lt.
The revelations come from expense reports of municipal council members that have exposed wide-spread abuse of municipal funds, with some politicians suspected of presenting false receipts to claim reimbursements.
According to Delfi.lt, Justice Minister Ewelina Dobrowolska, of the Freedom Party, used public money to rent an Apple watch and pay for two phone bills while she was a member of Vilnius City Council. The minister’s adviser told Delfi.lt that she needed the smartwatch to manage her schedule, emails, texts and calls related to her duties at the council.
However, the adviser said, Dobrowolska decided to return some of the reimbursements she claimed – 1,044 euros – so as to avoid any appearance of misconduct. She paid back the money on May 8, at the beginning of the so-called “receipts scandal”.
Another member of the Freedom Party, MP Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius, submitted receipts for late night taxi rides. According to Delfi.lt, in 2019, when he was a Vilnius City Council member, Raskevičius hailed rides from the gay club Soho.
The politician, who is openly gay and has campaigned for legalising same-sex unions, told Deli.lt he was meeting his constituents at the club.
“As far as that particular place is concerned, it is a meeting place for my community and it is where I work with my constituents, with the people who elect me,” he said.
When asked about trips home at 04:30 in the morning, the politician said that if there were any questions about his expenses, he was happy to return some of the reimbursements.
Raskevičius later confirmed in a Facebook post that he returned 226 euros to the Municipality of Vilnius.
According to Delfi.lt, former Vilnius vice-mayor Vytautas Mitalas, now an MP, also used public money to pay for night-time taxi rides.