‘Not yet in jail and already sporting a political prisoner’s halo’

Published on 15 July 2013 at 10:10

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Labour Party founder Viktor Uspaskich was sentenced to a minimum four years in prison on July 12 for tax evasion and maintaining secret accounts on behalf of his party.
Describing what it calls a “malignant tumour” in Lithuania’s political system, Lietuvos rytas reports Uspaskich was charged with failing to declare €7m of donations to the party, which was the second largest in the country and a member of the ruling coalition. The daily regrets the court was unable to “definitively determine the source of this money,” which it suspects was misappropriated from EU funds.
The newspaper also takes issue with the reaction of Lithuania’s political elite, which sought to defend the beleaguered politician. Lietuvos rytas explains that “nothing has changed”, because there is no possibility of a viable coalition without the Labour Party. Worse still, all of this has occurred at a time when Lithuania has just taken over the presidency of the European Union. In conclusion, the newspaper hopes that Uspaskich, who left for Russia the day after the verdict, will “return, because no one wants instability”.

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