RIGA 's The Prosecutor General's Office has launched a criminal case against four officers of the Latvian Finance Police over the wiretapping of journalists' telephone conversations.
Finance police officers Aldis Klems, Vasilijs Kivlonoks, Janis Laizans and Raivis Freibergs are being prosecuted for abuse of office for a malicious purpose. None of the four suspects has been placed in custody.
In fall 2005, Parliament's national security committee received two boxes with taped telephone conversations and a folder with about 50 pages of transcripts from conversations between law enforcement authorities, TV journalist Ilze Jaunalksne and New Era party secretary general Edgars Jaunups. The evidence was sent from media representatives.
The probe carried out by the Constitution Protection Bureau and Prosecutor General's Office found that the tapping of phone conversations occurred at the end of 2005, and had been authorized at the beginning of 2006.
Authorization to tap Jaunalksne's phone conversations was issued to the Financial Police. Several representatives from law enforcement authorities earlier said that the authorization might have been received with fraud -- investigative operations services might have shown Jaunalksne's phone number as the number of another person allegedly involved in crimes.
Jaunalksne, meanwhile, is claiming 300,000 lats (426,800 euros) in moral damages from the Finance Ministry's State Revenue Service and the Finance Police. The Riga Regional Court is scheduled to hear her claim on Jan. 25.