Lithuania's ex-President's Widow Entangled in Tax Evasion
Lithuanian authorities said on Monday they have raised tax evasion charges against the son of the ex-president’s widow because the company he runs and co-owns with his mother allegedly failed to pay some €40,000 in profit tax on a real estate trade in Florida.
investigation against Kristina Brazauskiene, the widow of Lithuania's former president Algirdas Brazauskas, and her son from her first marriage, Ernestas Butrimas, was launched after OCCRP's partner 15 min.lt last year exposed that despite the mother’s denial, the companies the two own did have properties in Florida, one of which they failed to report.The
When asked about them, Kristina Brazauskiene told reporters she never heard either property.
But after the article was published, investigators launched a probe and identified a mansion near Fort Lauderdale registered to a company the mother and the son owned but never mentioned in company files. The son also owned a luxury condo north of Miami Beach.
Inspectors wanted to know where the two got the money to pay for the properties.
In cooperation with American law enforcement, the Lithuanian Financial Crime Investigation Service learned that both properties were sold and that the company made €200,000 in profit but never paid any taxes.
Brazauskiene is the widow of Algirdas Brazauskas – the first Lithuanian president elected in a free election after the country regained its freedom after the fall of the Soviet Union. She married Brazauskas after his presidential term ended. So, officially, she can not be treated as a former first lady. Brazauskiene has been fighting for first lady's privileges for years, but now she has a new set of trouble, and a far more serious one.
In Lithuania, tax evasion is a crime. The perpetrators can face a fine or up to six years of imprisonment.