Lithuania‘s acting minister of culture Šarūnas Birutis violated the law due to undisclosing the ownership of a Bulgarian Business, revealed by 15min.lt and Bivol.
As Bivol‘s Bulgarian registry database shows, an influential member of the Lithuanian Labor Party is one of the three shareholders of a Bulgarian company called Agrolitas. However, he failed to disclose his bussiness ownership for years, while being a member of the European Parliament, Vilnius city council and, since 2012, the minister of culture.
After 15min.lt published the story about Birutis‘ hidden assets, the minister amended his declaration of interests admitting the ties to Agrolitas. He said he was not aware of the fact that he must declare business ownership outside of Lithuania.
On September 7th, the Lithuanian Chief Official Ethics commission ruled that Birutis violated the law by hiding his Bulgarian business activities. However, the chairman of the commission Romas Valentukevičius stated that the ruling is more of a formality, since Birutis declared his Bulgarian links on the very same day when the story came out at 15min.lt.
Birutis is one of two influential Lithuanian politicians disclosed by Bivol’s database. The second one is Kęstutis Daukšys, like Birutis, a member of the parliament representing the Labor Party. Since 2006, Daukšys’ wife had an undeclared company in Bulgaria which owned land in the resort of Biala, right next to the seaside. Since 2008, when the couple got married, Daukšys is obliged to disclose both his and his spouse’s business ties in Lithuania and abroad, but he failed to do so.
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However, The Ethics Commission made no ruling on Daukšys, since he’s a member of the parliament and is not under the Commissions jurisdiction. Curiously, he did become the leader of the Labor Party’s candidate list in the upcoming parliamentary election. The party chose him as the lead candidate a few weeks after his Bulgarian assets were disclosed.
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