Former Constitution Protection Bureau official and his wife charged with espionage

  • 2021-10-27
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Law enforcement authorities have laid charged against Aigars Sparans, a former Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB) official, and his wife. 

In April 2020, the State Security Service detained Sparans for graft. Latvian Television reported at the time that Sparans was accused of accepting a EUR 35,000 bribe. Testimony in the case had been given by Konstantins Soloduha, a co-owner of Tukums airport who has been linked with a number of criminal cases on circulation of weapons and strategic goods, even though so far he has been acquitted in all of them.

Sparans' lawyer Aleksandrs Berezins confirmed to LETA that the graft allegations are being investigated in a separate case and that Sparans features as a suspect in the ongoing criminal probe. 

This past spring the State Security Service initiated a prosecution against Sparans in connection with another case, and espionage charges were laid against Sparans and his wife on October 1. As LETA learned, the charges were pressed after law enforcement officers who searched Sparans' home found materials containing state secrets. Sparans had obtained the materials while working at SAB. 

"My client is not being accused of working for a foreign country. What the prosecutor sees as espionage is the fact that such materials were found at my client's home. We have repeatedly filed complaints that the charges have been laid unlawfully, and espionage as such does not means collaboration with a foreign country, working in a foreign country's interests. But the complaints have been dismissed, stressing that the prosecutor is independent and decides by himself," Berezins told LETA. 

The defense lawyer maintains that Sparans has been wrongfully charged for actions not entailing criminal liability because obtaining and keeping a state secret is not a criminal offense. 

If they are found guilty, Sparans and his wife may face jail terms of three to 20 years.