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Last Updated: Monday, 25 October, 2004, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
Lithuanian ex-president cleared
Rolandas Paksas
Paksas is banned from holding public office
Former Lithuanian President Rolandas Paksas has been cleared of leaking state secrets to a Russian-born businessman, Yuri Borisov.

Mr Paksas became the first European head of state to be impeached and removed from office on corruption charges in April this year.

Claims he had told Mr Borisov his phone was tapped were among the charges.

He is still likely to face trial over claims that he had also illegally arranged citizenship for Mr Borisov.

The Russian-born businessman was one of the main backers of Mr Paksas' election campaign.

Mr Paksas, 48, had always maintained his innocence and a court in Vilnius ruled on Monday that there was no clear evidence that he had disclosed state secrets.

No majority

He told reporters outside court: "I was removed from office and banned by the constitutional court and now I have proof that this was not justified.

"I am curious to know who was behind this. It was clearly a political manoeuvre."

Popular disillusion with the political establishment is said to have increased support for the recently launched Labour Party in the parliamentary elections.

But in the second round of voting on Sunday, no party gained an absolute majority to form a government.

Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas has said he will start negotiations to form a new coalition with the Conservative and Liberal Centre Union parties.

The Labour Party - led by a Russian-born millionaire, Viktor Uspaskich - has said it will form a solid opposition to the new coalition.

Second round for Lithuanian vote
14 Jun 04  |  Europe
New probe for Lithuania's Paksas
30 Apr 04  |  Europe
Paksas fall stirs mixed emotions
07 Apr 04  |  Europe
Country profile: Lithuania
01 May 04  |  Country profiles

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