Lithuanian Judicial Council puts off decision on sacking of judges suspected of corruption

The Lithuanian Judicial Council decided on Friday to postpone its discussion regarding the dismissal of three high-ranking judges suspected in a large-scale judicial corruption probe, its chairman said.

“The council adjourned for a week,” Algimantas Valantinas told reporters.

The decision to adjourn was made after the council received requests from two of the three judges – Egidijus Lauzikas of the Lithuanian Supreme Court and Valdimaras Bavejanas of the Court of Appeals – to be participate in the discussion.

Court of Appeal judges, Konstantinas Gurinas and Valdimaras Bavejanas,

The third judge, Konstantinas Gurinas of the Court of Appeals, agreed to the issue of dismissal being considered in his absence.

Last week, President Gitanas Nauseda asked the Judicial Council for advice on whether the suspected judges should be removed from office.

Valantinas also said that the council needed more time to analyze the suspicions brought against the judges.

If the council gave the go-ahead, President Gitanas Nauseda would ask for the parliament’s approval to sack the three judges.

Jurate Soviene, the president’s advisor on legal matters, did not comment on the Judicial Council’s decision.

Meanwhile, a group of MPs are initiating impeachment proceedings against Gurinas, Bavejanas, Lauzikas, and Viktoras Kazys of the Court of Appeals.

Another four lower-ranking judges are also suspected in the corruption case.

A total of 48 people, including six attorneys, are suspected of various corruption crimes in the probe.

Law-enforcement officials suspect that bribes ranging from 1,000 to 100,000 euros were paid or promised to judges in exchange for favorable rulings. The total value of such bribes could have reached 400,000 euros, based on the pre-trial investigation materials.

Some suspects have publicly denied any wrongdoing.

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