Saeima approves legal moves against judge over bribe allegations

Saeima gave permission October 12 for criminal proceedings to get under way against judge Aija Ornina, in connection with allegations of bribery.

Under Latvian law, Saeima must give its permission for judges to become the subjects of criminal cases themselves.

The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) at the end of June sent materials to the Prosecutor General requesting the criminal prosecution of the Riga City Kurzeme District Court judge Orniņa as part of an investigation involving high-profile businessman Julijs Krumins, the unauthorised leaking of classified information and an alleged bribery attempt worth 5,000 euros.

Ornina was suspended from her previous position in the Riga Courland District Court last October. The judge said that she was accused of disclosing information and "accepting an offer" from Krumins.

Krūmiņš  was arrested by KNAB after a search at the  office of the Mayor of Jūrmala, Gatis Truksnis (Greens and Farmers Union party), which was linked to illegal party financing . Later it became known that Krumins was a suspect status in two criminal proceedings.

The businessman himself said that, he knew Ornina but denied offering a bribe.

The Saeima legal affairs committee that recommended the removal of the judge's immunity is not without controversy of its own. Back in 2011 its former chairwoman and former Justice Minister Vineta Muizniece, who had become a constitutional court judge, was found guilty of falsifying laws after another parliamentarian noticed that Saeima decisions were being changed by someone before coming into force.

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