Case against whistleblower likely to be dropped

Despite attempts by the Security Police to secure the criminal prosecution of Juris Jurass, the former head of the Criminal Intelligence Process Division at the Latvian Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB), the prosecutor has decided to close the criminal probe that had been launched against him over disclosure of state secrets, the prosecutor’s decision obtained by LETA suggests.

Prosecutor Aivis Zaluzninskis has come to the conclusion that there are no legal grounds to press charges against Jurass, who earlier had been declared a suspect in the case and that the probe against him has to be closed as there was no evidence to suggest any wrongdoing on Jurass’ part.

As the case against him has been closed, the restriction banning Jurass from traveling outside Latvia has been lifted as well.

As previously reported by LSM, Jurass said in an interview with the Ir news weekly magazine that he was offered a million-euro bribe to change the charges in a high-profile criminal case against Ugis Magonis, the former head of the state-owned railway company Latvijas Dzelzcels, and Estonian businessman Oleg Ossinovski from bribery to trading in influence, which carries a much lighter sentence.

He said he had reported the offer to his superior but his impression from this conversation had been that "no one cared" about the huge bribe offered to him therefore he had decided to make this information public through the mass media.

As a result, a criminal proceeding was started against Jurass for divulging state secrets.

Having been dismissed by the then KNAB chief, Jaroslavs Strelcenoks, in summer 2016, Jurass joined the New Conservative Party headed by former justice minister Janis Bordans and was the party's candidate to Riga mayor in the recent local elections.

This spring the Prosecutor General's Office sent the bribery case against Magonis and Ossinovski to the court, and the first court session is planned on September 8 this year.

KNAB detained Magonis in summer 2015. He is suspected of accepting a EUR 500,000 bribe from Estonian millionaire Oleg Ossinovski so that LDz Ritosa Sastava Serviss, a subsidiary of Latvijas Dzelzcels, would purchase four old locomotives for several million euros from Ossinovski's company Skinest.

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