A Lithuanian accountant who made Nazi salutes and aimed monkey chants at black players during an Olympic basketball match has insisted such behaviour is acceptable in his home country.
Petras Lescinskas, 36, has been fined £2,500 after he was seen raising his arm several times while placing his other hand over his top lip to imitate Hitler’s moustache.
He was among a group of Lithuanians heard making obscene noises during their country’s match against Nigeria on Tuesday.
His conviction came only three days after a Lithuanian was pictured making similar gestures at black stewards during their team’s match against Argentina on Sunday.
Lescinskas admitted racially aggravated behaviour when he appeared at Stratford Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
His behaviour was so appalling that it forced some families to move seats inside the basketball arena, the court heard.
But Lescinskas’s solicitor told the hearing that his client believed his behaviour was acceptable in Lithuania and he had done it before at previous sports matches.
The defence failed to impress District Judge Sonia Sims, who fined the Lithuanian £2,500 and ordered him to pay £85 costs.
‘Your behaviour was despicable’, the judge told him. ‘You have been intolerant of a country in a racist fashion towards others who don’t deserve abuse for their race, colour or creed.
‘As for the gesture, which has been described as a Nazi salute, it is a direct insult to all of those who lost their lives in the Holocaust and the affect on generations since.
‘I do not accept that this is acceptable behaviour in your country.
‘That behaviour I am sure is unacceptable to your fellow countrymen who no doubt want to distance themselves from your actions.
‘The Olympics is a wondrous event not only for Great Britain but for all the nations who are competing, participating or watching on television.
‘This type of conduct tarnishes the whole ethos of the Games.’
The court heard that Lescinskas was part of a group of rowdy Lithuanian fans supporting their team against Nigeria in the Olympic Park on July 31.
He admitted having a drink before the basketball match, which his country won 72-53, but insisted he was not drunk when the players stepped on court.
Becky Owen, prosecuting, said other fans were forced to move seats because of his behaviour.
She said: ‘The defendant was one of a large number of Lithuanian supporters being generally loud and offensive.
‘In particular the group were heard at times to be making monkey-style noises when the Nigeria team had possession of the ball.
‘He was arrested because he was seen making a Nazi salute on a number of occasions while placing his finger across the top of his lip.’