Prosecutor Maizitis warns of further criticism

  • 2005-02-09
  • By The Baltic Times
RIGA 's Prosecutor General Janis Maizitis, under increasingly intensive fire from a local newspaper, said on Wednesday that prosecutors may face increased counter-actions and "attempts to upset their psychological balance."

Speaking at a meeting of top prosecutors, Maizitis repeated that he himself had received warnings and "opinions about which course of action I should take as regards to work of the prosecutor's office and its further development."

If he had heeded those warnings, he said, he would have violated basic principles of prosecutors' ethics. "I responded as was proper for a prosecutor general in such situation. The reaction was a promise of very negative publicity about my work," he said.

Maizitis said recent reports on his activities had been biased but pointed out that prosecutor general must be prepared to hear criticism.

Most of the criticism has come from the Neatkariga Rita Avize daily, which is generally supportive of the interests of a group of Ventspils-based businessmen and politicians, particularly Mayor Aivars Lembergs. The paper is hounding Maizitis for sharing information on an investigation that concerned a U.S. company with a former U.S. ambassador, though the real source of dissatisfaction, many observers believe, has to do with the prosecutor's attempts to solicit information about the owners of a number of offshore shell companies from Swiss authorities.

Maizitis stressed that no major investigation in past or present had been stopped as a result of the pressure he has felt. "This year I also hope for specific results in cases entailing great public interest," he said.

"We must not forget that most mass media in Latvia are privately-owned as befits a democratic country," he added.