Lithuania arrests eight top judges in anti-corruption crackdown

Lithuania arrests eight top judges in anti-corruption crackdown
By Reuters
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VILNIUS (Reuters) - Lithuania detained 26 people including eight top judges in an anti-corruption probe on Wednesday, and the Prosecutor General said he would seek to review some verdicts issued by the judges.

The detained judges served at higher level courts including the Supreme court, the country's top appeal body, the prosecutor said, adding five lawyers were also among the 26 detained.

"It was a system ... what we found was that, in a barrister's office, trading in justice was taking place," Prosecutor General Edvinas Pasilis told reporters.

Anti-corruption agency head Zydrunas Bartkus said the agency had evidence of bribes, ranging from 1,000 euros to 100,000 euros, given to influence verdicts in a range of administrative, civil and criminal court cases.

In one instance, a bribe was given to influence a prosecution for corruption, said Bartkus.

A Eurobarometer survey in 2017 found that 93 percent of Lithuanians thought corruption is widespread, the fifth-highest result in the European Union after Greece, Spain, Cyprus and Croatia.

"The times of untouchables are over. Everyone has to learn the lesson," Lithuania's prime minister Saulius Skvernelis wrote on Facebook.

(Reporting By Andrius Sytas, Editing by William Maclean)

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