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Criminal process in relation to Riga airport wiretapping case is concluded

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe prosecutor’s office has concluded the criminal process against the former head of Riga International Airport Raimonds Lazdins and Ints Rubezis, his subordinate, in the case regarding possibly illegal wiretapping at the airport.

Diena reports that information about wiretapping first appeared in 2013, when the board of Riga International Airport decided to dismiss Raimonds Lazdins and two of this subordinates. It was reported that Security Police had also launched a criminal process in relation to facts that were uncovered shortly after.

The decision of the board was based on information received by the airport’s board led by Aldis Murnieks that the three security service members had been using special equipment to tap into communications of employees of the airport, businessmen and even law enforcement officials working at the airport. The decision regarding the dismissal of the three officials was signed by them the deputy chairman of the airport’s board Andis Damlics.

It was later uncovered that funding from the Security Department was used to procure equipment that was used to tap into communications and software to control electronic correspondence.

Victims of wiretapping activities, among which were five high-tank airport officials, turned to Security Police in June 2014 with a collective application, asking police to add them to the list of victims. SP, however, declined this request.

Only after the involvement of the prosecutor’s office at the end of 2014, SP was forced to recognize authors of the application as victims. At the same time, however, a number of former officials of the airport also became suspects in the case. This includes not only Aldis Murnieks, but also Damlics, who was the one who dismissed Lazdins and his subordinates at the end of 2013.

SP raised charges against them for official negligence.

The criminal case against Luhsis was concluded by the prosecutor’s office at the end of 2015. At the same time, the criminal case against one of this subordinates – Savko – was concluded as well. Prosecutor Dzeralds Pooks concluded that «no evidence was found to suggest that Savko, knowing he was acting illegally, had directly accessed information in the tapped telecommunications network».

Half a year later, the criminal process has been concluded in relation to the two other airport security service members – Lazdins and Rubezis. The prosecutor concluded that actions performed by the two former officials «were part of efforts to ensure protection of commercial secrets, prevent corruption risks and potential risks to the airport’s function, not for some other need outside their duties».

According to information from Diena, there are only three members of the airport’s management board remaining in the criminal process. According to SP and the prosecutor’s office, the three suspects had given security officers the chance to perform wiretapping activities. What they did not explain to security officers is that it is unacceptable to spy on people. The men in question are Murnieks, Damlics and head of the airport’s technology department Aldis Esmits, according to Diena.

The newspaper reports that multiple airport employees have turned to the Prosecutor General’s Office with complaints regarding prosecutor Pooks’ decision and request to replace him with a different prosecutor in this case.

Victims also noted that regulations provide clear rules for recording telephone conversations and wiretapping. Rules also state who is authorized to carry out such activities – there is no mention of the airport or any of its departments.

In July 2015, Riga District Prosecutor’s Office was asked to launch criminal prosecution of 11 current and former officials of the airport for unsanctioned wiretapping activities at the airport, as reported by SP.

Ref: 102.109.109.0901


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