Lithuanian firm hires witch to hunt debt dodgers

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) - In these difficult times for
creditors, a Lithuanian debt collector is offering an
unconventional service to retrieve arrears: witchcraft.
The Vilnius-based firm has hired Vilija Lobaciuviene, the Baltic
nation's most famous self-styled witch, to hunt down companies and
individuals who are failing to pay their debts amid the credit
crunch.
"There are certain people, who are using this crisis situation
and refuse to pay back banks or other companies," said Amantas
Celkonas, director of the Skolu Isieskojimo Biuras, or debt
collecting bureau.
"Our new employee will help them to understand the situation,
reconsider what is right and wrong and act accordingly," he said.
"We will also help those who are in real trouble, suffering from
psychological impact of bankruptcy and depression."
Lobaciuviene, who describes herself as "Lithuania's leading
witch," is renowned in the former Soviet republic of 3.4 million
people for providing such "magical" services as predicting the
future and casting spells. She claims to use hypnosis, herbal
medicines and "the bio-energy field" when helping her
"patients."
Asked to comment on her new job, Lobaciuviene, 53, told The
Associated Press on Thursday that she is happy to be of assistance.
"I am free citizen and can do whatever I like. I am glad
someone needs my help and I will do whatever I can to help
people," she said.
Local pundits, however, ridiculed the agency's move.
"This is return to the Dark Ages. If they really believe that
this woman may help someone get money back, then there's something
very wrong with this country," said columnist Monika Bonckute.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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