Ex-head of the Institute of Food and Veterinary Risks is convicted for bribes of €300 000

Asociatyvi nuotr.

The Vilnius Regional Court on Thursday convicted the former head of the National Institute for Food and Veterinary Risk Assessment, Gediminas Pridotkas, of taking bribes worth more than €300,000, illicit enrichment and other offences.

G. Pridotkas was sentenced to two years' imprisonment, fined €18,000 and banned from holding any public office for five years. The decision can still be appealed to the Lithuanian Court of Appeal.

The former civil servant was also found guilty of forgery of documents, fraudulent management and organisation of financial accounting and laundering of funds acquired through criminal means.

G. Pridotkas was convicted of accepting bribes from natural persons, using a legal entity set up by himself and his spouse, and 15 other related companies, in return for favourable treatment in future public tenders conducted by the institute he headed.

„(...) the court stated that it is fully proven that a total of EUR 296,871 in assets were obtained through bribery, unlawful enrichment and criminally laundered assets, which will be confiscated after the court's verdict and will go to the state, “, “ according to a statement of the Special Investigative Service (STT), which carried out the pre-trial investigation.

The pre-trial investigation was initiated at the end of 2021 after the Special Investigation Service received information about suspected illegal financial and personal links of companies participating in public procurement contracts financed by the European Union and Lithuanian budgets with the persons executing and managing the projects.

The investigation revealed that project promoters and other persons concerned, acting through a chain of intermediary companies and their managers, simulated transactions for the purchase and sale of various services, carried out fictitious financial transactions with the aim of concealing prior criminal agreements, including the transfer of bribes, money laundering and unlawful enrichment.

In the pre-trial investigation a total of 23 persons have been prosecuted in connection with this criminal case.

Proceedings against three of the individuals were concluded by earlier criminal court orders. One of them is Evelina Pridotkienė, the spouse of G. Pridotko, former interim Director of the Department of Drugs, Tobacco and Alcohol Control. The total amount of fines imposed on them amounts to more than €77,000 and €60,000 was confiscated.

12 persons were convicted of intermediate offences and were released from criminal liability on bail.

The National Institute of Food and Veterinary Risk Assessment is a subordinate and accountable body of the State Food and Veterinary Service, which carries out risk assessment functions and laboratory tests in the fields of food and feed safety, quality and veterinary medicine.