Lithuanian president initiates significant increase of fines for corruption crimes

Xinhua News Agency

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VILNIUS, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite will submit to the parliament amendments to the Criminal Code aimed at increasing fines for all crimes and to particularly stiffen penalties for corruption crimes, the presidency announced on Tuesday.

According to the statement released by the presidency, such amendments are important as Lithuania seeks to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which have made remarks about inadequate fines.

"The fine must be such that the person does not even intend to be bribed, cheat or illegally seek for benefits," Grybauskaite was quoted as saying in the statement.

That would mean that the fines for corruption crimes would be tied to the amount of damage done, of benefit received by perpetrators or of bribe paid. For example, a person who gave or accepted 50,000 euros (60,000 U.S. dollars)

bribe would face the same size or bigger fine, the presidency explained.

The same practice is valid in other members of the EU, Estonia, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Italy, the statement read.

As Lithuania's courts practice shows, currently fines for criminal crimes are minimal and do not deter from getting involved into the illegal activity, the presidency stated.

Lithuania expects to join the OECD next year.

In July this year, Lithuania became the member of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention which is seen by the organization as the country's commitment to combat bribery and corruption.

The Lithuanian parliament's fall session opens at Sept, 10. (1 euro = 1.2 U.S. dollars) Enditem