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Latvian Prosecutor General's Office to look into decisions about closing original ''oligarch case''
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    Latvian Prosecutor General's Office to look into decisions about closing original ''oligarch case''

    RIGA, Feb 14 (LETA) - The Latvian Prosecutor General's Office has instructed a prosecutor of a higher rank to look into the decisions by Prosecutor Maris Leja and the Corruption Prevention Bureau about closing the original criminal case investigating the so-called oligarch affair.

    The ad hoc committee established at the Latvian parliament to examine the quality of pre-trial investigation in the oligarch case called on the Prosecutor General's Office to establish a commission of representatives of the law enforcement agencies to conduct an institutional probe into the reasons for opening and closing of the criminal case and the pre-trial investigation.

    However, under the Law on Criminal Proceedings, the prosecutor general has no right to establish a cross-institutional body for an institutional probe, said Aiga Eiduka, a spokeswoman for the Prosecutor General's Office.

    Instead the Prosecutor General's Office has instructed a superior prosecutor to review the decisions made during the original investigation of the oligarch case, including the decisions made by Prosecutor Leja and the Corruption Prevention Bureau about closing the case without pressing charges against anyone.

    As reported, in July 2017 the Latvian parliament set up the ad hoc committee to probe the so-called oligarch affair for signs of state capture and to examine the quality of pre-trial investigation. The committee presented its report to the parliament in mid-January this year. The committee said it had spotted signs suggesting state capture but would not identify anyone by name because the criminal investigation of the oligarch affair had ended without pressing changes against anyone and the parliamentary committee did not have a mandate to accuse anyone where the criminal investigators had failed to do so.

    The oligarch conversations are a series of transcripts of high-ranking politicians and businessmen's conversations at Ridzene hotel in Riga which have been published by the Ir magazine. Those records were one of the main pieces of evidence in a 2011 criminal case on bribery, money laundering, abuse of office and other crimes, implicating a number of high-ranking politicians and public figures, including Andris Skele, Aivars Lembergs, Ainars Slesers and others. The Corruption Prevention Bureau investigated the case for several years, but eventually concluded that the secretly-recorded conversations did not constitute compelling evidence, therefore the criminal case was closed.

    • Published: 14.02.2018 11:28
    • LETA
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