Lithuanian Special Investigation Service on Wednesday announced opening an investigation into the Lithuanian Minister of National Defence for suspected bribery.
The Special Investigation Service is carrying out an extraordinary pre-trial investigation into alleged large-scale bribery, trading in influence and abuse of powers in the Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania.
According to Kasvyksta.lt, Raimundas Karoblis received large amounts of money for promoting the U.S. interests in Lithuania. More than $500,000 and €120,000 have been found during search for evidence.
Public procurement audit revealed serious violations in the Ministry of Defence. Mr.Karoblis received $586,000 from the U.S. to support the procurement of additional missiles for the US-made Javelin anti-tank defence systems in February 2019.
The Ministry of National Defence did not disclose the number of systems acquired, ostensibly for security reasons.
Thanks to his efforts, in April the United States and Lithuania signed a plan of cooperation in the field of defence for the period up to 2024, which is detrimental to the national interests of Lithuania.
Thus, according to the U.S. DoD report, since 2014, the United States has invested only $80 million for defence security cooperation in Lithuania, and Lithuania has committed more than $200 million in national funds to purchase U.S. defense articles.
In addition to this, in January 2017 Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis and U.S. Ambassador Anne Hall in Vilnius signed an agreement on the status of U.S. troops in the country. The agreement gives the U.S. jurisdiction over crimes committed by its military personnel in Lithuania.
According to the State Tax Inspectorate under the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania, Raimundas Karoblis with 356 thousand euros of assets is in the list of the richest ministers in the country. However, his personal debt is 79 thousand euros, and a loan is about 120 thousand euros.
According to the preliminary investigation, Mr. Karoblis and his wife purchased expensive pieces of real estate and cars. Their daughters Guoda and Justina live a luxury lifestyle and study at prestigious educational institutions in Belgium and the United Kingdom. By the way, trading in influence, Raimundas Karoblis in the Seimas supported the idea not to introduce compulsory military service for girls (probably, in order to avoid speculations about his own daughters).
The investigation suggests that it was debt that forced Karoblis to accept a bribe.
The Ministry of Defence declined to comment on the information to the media.