Latvian corruption watchdog informed PM about MP investigation «only» hour before

The Head of the Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau, Jēkabs Straume, has stated that he had informed Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis (Union of Greens and Farmers) about criminal proceedings against his fellow party member Askolds Kļaviņš an hour before a key sitting of a Saeima committee.

«Yes. An hour before the Mandate, Ethics and Submissions Committee of the Saeima convened. I also informed the Speaker of the Saeima. I asked to ensure an equal level of confidentiality as on the day before, when another member of parliament was allowed [to be searched – BNN],» the head of the corruption watchdog wrote in his Twitter account.

Reportedly, the investigative Latvian daily Ir reported instead that PM Kučinskis had been informed about the Kļaviņš case five weeks before the search.

According to Ir, in the leak of secret investigation information, top officials have been involved, namely, the head of the CPCB, Jēkabs Straume and Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis.

The development casts a shadow over the independence of the corruption watchdog itself. Ironically, during the judge-ordered eavesdropping of Kļaviņš, who is suspected of abuse of official power, operatives have recorded a phone conversation, where Emsis warned the legislator of the trouble ahead.

Based on the information unnamed sources provided to Ir, the chain of the information leak could have taken place as follows. Emsis could have learnt about the opening of a criminal process against Kļaviņš, when the UGF Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis told this to his party members amid selecting candidates for the upcoming Saeima election.

The PM, Ir assumed, had been informed by the head of the CPCB, Jēkabs Straume.

Reportedly, the Saeima MP from the UGF Askolds Kļaviņš has been made a suspect in the criminal case regarding abuse of official power.

In late June, Saeima voted in favour of permitting searches to be performed in Kļaviņš’s home and car. After that Saeima meeting, Kļaviņš was approached by CPCB officers with whom he left. During debates on this matter, Kļaviņš asked deputies to vote in favour of the search, promising to show and tell officers everything.

Kļaviņš said at the time he was confused over the whole situation.

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