The criminal process in the so-called Oligarchs case was launched by the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau with good reason, but it was ended abruptly because of lack of evidence. On top of that, information was leaked to the accused, as Diena was told by the prosecution’s representatives.
Prosecutor General Eriks Kalnmeiers, emphasized that the criminal process was launched with good reason, because before then authorities had been wiretapping conversations for a long time. «Wiretapped conversations stated that a crime had either already been committed or had been in the process of being committed. To check this information, a criminal process was launched. Information such as that only becomes evidence if can be checked and proved in accordance with the Criminal Process Law. The fact that something has been wire-tapped is not evidence on its own.»
When asked if the criminal process did not have any political motive behind it, Kalnmeiers said it did not. «The criminal process was launched in May 2011. After the first massive searches, KNAB claimed there was enough evidence to bury the accused head to toes. We had no control over what was confiscated during those searches. People in this very office promised that there was enough evidence and that all we had to do is work and put everything together.»
«A criminal process is launched in order to use methods provided by the law to determine if a crimes has taken place. It a crime has taken place, authorities have to determine the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’. One of the goals of the criminal process is making sure the truth is uncovered, so that the people guilty of committing a crime are called to answer for them. […] Commencement of a criminal process is nothing in of itself. It is a process for in-depth investigation of some certain fact or event. Belief that a criminal process is something terrifying is something left over from the Soviet era. A criminal process is nothing bad. It is nothing more than an investigation,» Kalnmeiers said.
The prosecutor added that the total amount of evidence initially gathered for the criminal process was sufficient to perform searches, including in the home of ex-politician Ainars Slesers and other suspects. «But the evidence that is necessary to raise charges or commence court process is completely different. What is enough to hold someone suspect is not nearly enough to declare someone guilty,» he said.
«KNAB, operatives and investigators are not the ones to present charges in court. Because of that, they have no idea of the standards of evidence in court – what is enough to suspect someone is not enough for a guilty verdict. A prosecutor has the right to send a case to court only if there is no doubt about the evidence and there is no doubt that the person accused of committing a crime had actually committed it,» says the Oligarchs case supervisory prosecutor Maris Leja.
He adds that it is bad that contents of the wiretapped conversations were leaked to the public. ‘Publication of materials of a criminal case hurts the prosecution’s tactic. This leaks valuable information about the case to the accused and they become aware of the prosecution’s moves. It helps the accused to come up with a defence tactic to counter the prosecution’s arguments’.
Kalnmeiers notes that wiretapped conversations were leaked by KNAB officials. An information leak was confirmed in KNAB, said senior prosecutor Modris Adlers. «It was confirmed after the commencement of the criminal process. This information ultimately found its way to Slesers. This has been proved in the criminal case. The people responsible for the leak have been punished. The criminal process was launched in May 2011. Slesers found out about his conversations being wiretapped at the very least in March 2009. This means he knew he was being watched for at least two years before the criminal case was launched.»
KNAB employee that had access to the database of wiretapped phones was the one behind the information leak, Adlers added. A total of three people have been punished for this. «If a person knows their conversations are being watched, they can imitate conversations and hide their true intent,» Adlers added.