Usakovs rejects use of illegal video surveillance device

  • 2022-08-24
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - MEP and former Riga mayor Nils Usakovs (Harmony) rejects allegations that he would have bought, stores and used an illegal surveillance device, LETA learned from the politician's aide Diana Svane.

Usakovs said that the criminal case has been built around a file with a hidden video camera. Usakovs said that the file had been found in the room where former Riga mayor held meetings and gave interviews. The room had been used also for public and representation events, and it was accessible to visitors, for example, at Museum Nights.

The former mayor said that he saw the picture of the file for the first time when the investigator showed it to him.

Usakovs claims that he had no reason to use another video surveillance device as there were already video surveillance systems installed in the Riga City Council's building installed by the council's IT center.

Usakovs has asked to find himself a victim in the case as illegal video surveillance had been used on him. He believes that the investigation should focus on how the device appeared in his office.

Riga City Vidzeme District Court now is hearing the criminal case against Usakovs for storage of illegal video surveillance device.

Charges against Usakovs were pressed at the end of last year. If found guilty of the charges, Usakovs may face a jail term of up to two years, community service or a fine, as well as a temporary ban on holding particular posts.

As reported, the European Parliament in November 2021 waived parliamentary immunity for Usakovs, who nevertheless kept his MEP mandate.

The Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB) has turned to the Prosecutor General's Office with a request to begin prosecution against former Riga mayor and current European Parliament Member Usakovs for possession of a banned video surveillance device.

The bureau reported that while conducting procedural activities several years ago in a separate criminal case, the KNAB found and removed a device to be used for special operational activities from Usakovs' office.

Usakovs himself previously posted on his Facebook account that the removed device was a "some sort of self-made recording device" that was on the shelf. "As I understood from the description, it is a glued album with a built-in camera and microphone," Usakovs explained. He claimed that the presence of the device in his office was a surprise to him.

The KNAB initiated the Usakovs video surveillance device case on October 7, 2019, separating it from the Rigas Satiksme vehicle procurement case.