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Councillor, TV presenter snorts a line on camera, says it was just snuff

Māris Olte, a local councillor in the town of Madona and sometime television presenter, finds himself at the center of controversy after a video appeared online of him snorting a line of white powder at a party.

The video, apparently taken on a trip to Iceland, shows Olte surveying a table top of neatly-chopped white lines before diving in and sucking one up into his nose as party-goers cheer his effort.

Olte, elected to Madona district council on the joint list of the Latvian Regional Alliance/Latvian Farmers Union told LTV the substance was not cocaine or any other banned substance but a product legally available in Germany similar to snuff, without saying specificaly what it was he hoovered up his hooter. 

"Clearly I'm guilty, obviously I was there. They told me it was something like snuff, they had it with them. But we went through all the border controls," said Olte, one of the presenters of LTV's long-running nature and travel show 'Te'.

The state police indicated that they had seen the video, but at the moment no further comments could be made because the exact circumstances of what had happened were not known.

Madona Mayor Agris Lungevičs, also elected from the Latvian Regional Alliance/Latvian Farmers Union list, believes that a public person should think about what impression might be created among the public by such actions.

"It is definitely necessary to discuss with Māris, his own opinion and outline of what happened. And then we will look further at how to act. It's an atypical case. The municipality does not face it often. Therefore, there is no standard practice on how to act in this case," he said.

Senior figures in political parties did not express strong views on the matter. Latvian Regional Alliance chairman Edvards Smiltēns pointed out that situations that could be negatively interpreted in the public space should be avoided. The chairman of the Latvian Farmers' Union, Armands Krauze, was even ore laissez-faire, commenting that as long as they do not break the law, people are free to do what they want. 

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