RIGA-The chief of Latvia's anti-corruption bureau (KNAB) has accused politicians of meddling in the watchdog's work 's with unfounded allegations.
KNAB chief Aleksejs Loskutovs called on Transport Minister Ainars Slesers, who had accused the bureau of tapping his phone conversations, to direct his complaints to the "legal, not public sphere." Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis' public statements on a possible information leak should "remain on his conscience," the chief added.
According to anti-corruption bureau officials, politicians are "using their official status to voice their concerns," since they have a wide opportunity to do this through the media.
Loskutovs said politicians wanted to "show KNAB" its place by delaying draft regulations on social security and retirement pension plans for bureau employees.
The chief did not, however, reveal whether a probe on the possible information leak had been initiated. "I will not comment on that," he said.
"Apparently, there are investigators, who try to enhance their intelligence gathering work through media," Kalvitis told LNT television on Wednesday.
The PM does not rule out that KNAB had knowingly leaked information about certain criminal cases.
The motives for revealing the information, Kalvitis said, were not yet clear. Potentially, the leak could have been done for political reasons, he added, or with malicious intent based on other considerations.
Suspicions that KNAB had been tapping politicians' telephones and leaking information surfaced in late November this year. When Slesers arrived at the Prosecutor's Office, where he was expected to provide a statement about some criminal case, there was already a crowd of journalists waiting. As only Slesers and the prosecutor knew about this visit, the swarm of media arouse suspicion.
The transport minister later asked authorities to investigate the incident.