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Latvian Saeima may decide on permitting Juraš’s criminal prosecution this week

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUAlthough the loudest criminal case investigated by Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau in relation to Saeima deputies so far has been the case regarding the possible illegal financing of KPV LV, Saeima’s Mandate, Ethics and Submissions Committee may decide this week on permitting commencement of criminal prosecution of Jura Jurašs, as reported by the committee’s head Janīna Kursīte-Pakule.

As a reminder: two years ago the former KNAB officer Juris Jurašs told journalists that he was offered a bribe of EUR 1 million.

In summer 2015, KNAB detailed then the head of LDz Uģis Magonis. KNAB was certain he had previously received a bribe worth half a million euros from Estonian businessman Oļegs Osinovskis for a procurement of used trains. The operation was headed by Juris Jurašs. A couple of months later he was offered a bribe worth one million euros to switch charges against Osinovskis. Nekā personīga programme reported at the time that members of Unity and the Union of Greens and Farmers acted as mediators, whereas legal assistance to the Estonian millionaire was provided by Harmony member Andrejs Elksniņš.

Jurašs reported the bribe offer to then the chief of KNAB Jaroslavs Streļčenoks. However, no investigation followed. One year later, after he had already left KNAB, Jurašs complained about this to journalists. The prosecutor’s office commenced a criminal prosecution against him for disclosure of official secrets. The investigation of the fact of bribery commenced after Jurašs had already turned to the press – one and a half years after the fact. The criminal process was ended last autumn with no results to speak of, the programme reminds.

The fate of another criminal process against Jurašs had a different fate. In summer 2017, prosecutor Aivis Zalužinskis decided to conclude this criminal process. However, chief prosecutor Modris Adlers decided to cancel his subordinate’s decision and forwarded the case to Security Police.

Jurašs explains the situation the following way: «I think it’s one of the most absurd criminal processes to have ever been launched. The bribery attempt I had reported to the public was investigated by neither KNAB nor the prosecutor general’s office. A criminal process has been launched about this, but nearly one and a half years had to pass before authorities finally decided to investigate the bribe offer.»

New Unity deputy Ainars Latkovskis says: «We don’t care if it’s Bērziņš, Krēsliņš or Andrejevs. In all cases of the prosecutor’s office turning to the Saeima with a request to commence criminal prosecution of one of the deputies, we will support such requests, because it is the only way to determine the truth of what happened. There is simply no other way.»

«There have to be very serious evidence, considering it is a political matter. Why else the Saeima would have the right to interfere? We all remember what happened with Šlesers, when the Saeima refused to permit commencement of the criminal case. Because the Saeima needs to behave very responsibly, society needs to be given a clear sign that any deputy, regardless of their position or political views is still subject to criminal prosecution – just like any other citizen,» said Raivis Dzintars (National Alliance).

New Conservative Party’s leader Jānis Bordāns said the following about his colleague: «If criminal prosecution commences and a request is submitted to the Saeima, I believe it would be the same as it was in Ukraine with Crimea’s occupation – that the occupation in Latvia never ended, and the rule of law has been either non-existent this whole time or is denied existence from this moment onward.»

«As far as I know, Security Police decided to end the criminal case due to the lack of evidence and fact of a crime. When we took part in the national gathering outside the State President’s Castle, we discussed the rule of law. We also mentioned the scandalous oligarch talks that took place in Rīdzene Hotel. The Prosecutor General’s Office decided to restore the case after this,» said Bordāns.


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