Saeima sets up committee to probe 'oligarch transcripts'

On July 27 Latvia's parliament supported setting up a parliamentary committee to investigate the 'oligarch transcripts'.

The make-up of the committee, tasked to probe why the 'oligarch case' was dismissed before being brought to court and investigate public security risks that might be deduced from the conversations, was approved with 86 MPs voting 'for' and two 'against'. 

The case was based on secret recordings of conversations of so-called 'oligarchs' by the anti-graft authorities. It was started in 2011 after the Saeima voted against allowing law enforcement officers to carry out a search at the residence of former MP and Transport Minister Ainārs Šlesers. He was one of those recorded on tape along long-standing Ventspils mayor Aivars Lembergs.

In June the 'Ir' weekly started releasing transcripts from said recordings, staking its reputation on their authenticity.

The committee includes one MP from each political faction represented in the Saeima with Andrejs Judins (Unity), Igors Pimenovs (Harmony), Mārtiņš Šics (Latvian Regional Alliance), Ainārs Mežulis (Greens and Farmers Union), Ritvars Jansons (National Alliance) and Inguna Sudraba (Latvia From the Heart) partaking in the committee.

Prior to the vote there was debate whether Inguna Sudraba should take part in the committee as she herself is one of those who was recorded. In particular, MPs from Unity and National Alliance were the ones to raise objections.

She was however elected to chair the committee, the Saeima press office told LSM.

The committee was established on July 21 with the signatures of 35 MPs and it is set to operate for at least six months.

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