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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Latvian with Russian Asylum Held in Vilnius

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- A former minister wanted in an anti-corruption investigation was detained at Vilnius Airport after stepping off a flight from Moscow, police said Wednesday.

Viktor Uspaskich, a Russian-born millionaire, fled Lithuania in 2006 after losing his parliamentary seat and leadership position in the populist Labor Party, which he founded. For the past 18 months he has lived in Russia.

Police are investigating whether the party demands "tributes" from businesses seeking European Union funds and whether it received money from Russian-based interests.

Lithuanian prosecutors issued an EU-wide arrest warrant for Uspaskich, who holds Lithuanian citizenship, but Moscow refused to hand him over. He was detained briefly in Russia but was released after asking for asylum.

Uspaskich is listed as a candidate to fill a vacant parliamentary seat in the southern region of Dzukija. The ballot will take place Oct. 7. Labor Party colleagues said Uspaskich returned to face the tough questions.

"Viktor is here to answer all the questions and end this campaign against him," said Loreta Grauziniene, a Labor lawmaker who flew from Moscow with Uspaskich on the same plane.

Political opponents bemoaned the homecoming. "This is a well-organized public relations campaign," said Arturas Paulauskas, leader of New Union.