Alleged assassin returning to Latvia

  • 2000-02-17
  • By Blake Lambert
RIGA - A 21-year-old man who was arrested in Berlin in connection with an assassination attempt on a financial police officer will be returned to Latvia, said the prosecutor general's office.

Artjoms Korkins, along with three other men, allegedly plotted to kill Financial Police Officer Helmuts Skuja last September, according to police.

The prosecutor general's office charged Korkins with attempted murder in aggravated circumstances and the illegal possession and carrying of a firearm.

Skuja was shot and wounded on the stairs of his home, a Riga apartment building, as he was leaving for work while his family was still inside.

Three men were arrested after the assassination attempt, but a fourth could not be found.

German authorities eventually arrested Korkins and the prosecutor general's office asked the German government for extradition last October.

"The German government has agreed to extradition and we got this answer on (Feb. 11)," said Dzintra Subrovska, press secretary for the prosecutor general's office. "Now it depends on the technical questions as to how he will be sent."

She said it is not known when Korkins will arrive in Latvia, because the local Interpol office must work out the specifics of his return.

The names of three other suspects, who are charged with organizing and participating the assassination attempt, have not been released.

The Latvian Special Prosecutor's Office of Organized Crime and Other Branches said in October the move was made to ensure the accused survived throughout the investigation and were able to stand trial.

"[The prosecutor] will not send the case to the court until Korkins is extradited to Latvia, because it will make the cases more objective when all the charged persons will be present," said Subrovska.

A State Revenue Service spokesman said in October that Skuja was investigating alcohol smuggling at the time of his shooting and was very close to submitting his evidence to the prosecutor's office.