On Feb. 18, an international arrest warrant was issued for the former Finance Ministry official Vladimirs Vaskevics, who has been suspended from his job following bribery charges, reported TV3 broadcast Neka Personiga. However, no officials, including Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma (Unity), have confirmed this information.
Vaskevics is still located in a medical facility in Austria, as his lawyer, Oskars Rode, told LETA.
Rode explained that his client remains hospitalized. He emphasized that Vaskevics has “never dodged court rulings, quite the contrary, he has always cooperated, as far as his health allows.”
As for the custody order issued for Vaskevics and upheld by the Supreme Court of Latvia, Rode mentioned that “in order to extradite someone, the said country must follow specific procedures. Therefore, authorities in Latvia must forward the order to the authorities in Austria for review of its legitimacy. In turn, Vaskevics and his attorneys must be informed about this. As of now, we have received no such information.”
“His life is in danger in Latvia, as, apparently, the ‘real crooks’ are still on the loose,” Rode said.
“We are preparing a petition for the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) because we feel that Vladimirs Vaskevics is being denied the right to a fair trial,” added Rode.
He went on to say that equally important is the Supreme Court Criminal Cases Department's decision on the attempt on Vaskevics' life, where he was injured in the line of duty. The decision lifts the appellate court's ruling, and sends the case back to litigation.
Authorities in Latvia are not saying whether they are going after Vaskevics or not. The former high-ranking customs official and Finance Ministry employee is accused of large-scale bribery.