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Decision to close "oligarch case" has been grounded – high prosecutor

  • 2018-12-08
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA – Modris Adlers, the High Prosecutor of the Prosecutor General’s Office, after nine-month probe maintained in force the decisions made by prosecutor Maris Leja and the Corruption Prevention Bureau on closing the so-called oligarch case, said Aiga Eiduka, the spokeswoman of the prosecutor’s office.

Adlers in November completed the probe on the launch, investigation and closing of the oligarch case. He sent the results of the probe to the parliament.

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.

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.