Latvian national held on suspicions of spying for a foreign country

  • 2018-01-26
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The Security Police have detained a Latvian national on suspicions of spying for a foreign country, LETA was told at the Security Police.

A court has ruled to remand the spying suspect in custody.

On December 19, 2017, the Security Police launched a criminal probe over spying which the Latvian Criminal Law defines as illegal gathering of classified data with the aim to pass them on to a foreign country or a foreign organization directly or through some other person, or illegal gathering of other information or passing it on to a foreign intelligence agency.

On December 19, the Security Police made the arrest and conducted searches at several addresses.

The detained Latvian national has been officially declared a suspect in the case and is being probed for spying and illegal handling of firearms or ammunition.

As a measure of restriction, the suspect is being kept in custody.

Since the pre-trial investigation of the spying case is ongoing, the Security Police would not give more detailed comments, including which country the suspect was spying for.

If found guilty, the spying suspect might face a jail term of up to ten years.

The Security Police have dealt with spying cases already in the past. In late 2016, Aleksandrs Krasnopjorovs, an employee of Latvijas Dzelzcels national rail company, was detained on suspicions of spying for Russia. This case is currently being heard in Jelgava City Court.

At the end of 2015, two Russian nations were arrested for illegally entering the Adazi military base where Latvian troops together with their NATO allies were preparing for a military exercise. Although the two intruders were initially accused of attempted spying and terrorism their offense was later recategorized as hooliganism.

According to the Security Service’s annual report, the main counterintelligence risks to Latvia in 2016 were posed by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), Russian Foreign Intelligence Service and the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, but the biggest risk was coming from the FSB, mostly due to its increasing activity in Russia's neighbor countries and the resources available to the service.

Besides Russian spies, intelligence agencies of other countries were also active in Latvia, but their activity and threat to Latvia's national security remained relatively low, the Security Police said in the report.