Ventspils-backed media attacks prosecutor general

  • 2005-02-02
  • By The Baltic Times
RIGA 's A newspaper controlled by Ventspils business interests has accused Prosecutor General Janis Maizitis of a professional breach when he shared information on a criminal investigation with a U.S. ambassador.

The Neatkariga Avize daily wrote this week that Maizitis acted illegally when he provided former U.S. Ambassador Brian Carlson with information related to the criminal investigation of fraud linked to a subsidiary of Procter & Gamble, a U.S. company.

The U.S. Embassy described the information as distorted and false. Press attache Kaspars Ruklis said Procter & Gamble asked the embassy to help "when it had become clear that certain Latvian officials responsible for the investigation did not intend to investigate seriously and fairly the fraud in which Procter & Gamble was the victim."

Ruklis noted the embassy interfered in order to help U.S. citizens who had become victims of a crime. "Prosecutor General Maizitis did not provide this information voluntarily. He did it on Ambassador Carlson's request," he said.

The U.S. Embassy requested information on the progress of investigation into the Balodis Printing company fraud case also from many other Latvian authorities that have been involved in various aspects of the case in the course of several years," the embassy official said.

He noted other institutions also responded to the embassy's request for information.

Latvian Justice Minister Solvita Aboltina said on Tuesday that she had no doubts that Prosecutor General Janis Maizitis acted in accordance with the law when he shared information with Carlson.

The Prosecutor General's Office spokeswoman, Dzintra Vitolina, said that the U.S. embassy in January 2003 had complained to the government over inaction by economic police and the State Revenue Service while investigating a fraud case against Procter&Gamble, which was passed on to prosecutor's office that was requested to inform on the course of this case the country's president and prime minister.

She also said that provision of information to the U.S. Embassy has not affected independence of the prosecutor and investigation of the case. She said the information provided to the embassy only informed of what has been done to step up investigation efforts in the case which indeed was groundlessly delayed before the prosecutor's office stepped in.