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De Facto names former security officers in Saeima deputy espionage investigation

Take note – story published 2 years and 4 months ago

In the espionage case involving Saeima deputy Jānis Ādamsons, who is suspected of spying for Russia, all those involved are former employees of security services dating from both the Soviet occupation era and the period of restored independence, LTV's De Facto investigative show said January 23. 

Long-time Harmony party member of parliament Ādamsons, who was detained by the State Security Service (VDD) last summer on suspicion of espionage in Russia's interests, was himself a former member of the KGB Border Guard. As a politician, he had long been denied access to state secrets by the security services, though he did sit on the Saeima's Defense, Interior Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee. 

As previously reported by LSM, he has been banned from carrying out his parliamentary duties pending the investigation into his activities. 

According to the evidence gathered by the VDD, he has been reporting on various developments to the Russian Federal Security Service for a long time, De Facto said.

However, the MP, who had his parliamentary immunity stripped from him, continues to protest his innocence.  "Naturally, I do not admit guilt because it is nonsense," he told De Facto, without commenting further on the accusations agaist him.

In June, shortly before Ādamsons' arrest, a Russian citizen, Gennady Silonov, was detained at Rīga airport. He may have acted as an intermediary in the transmission of information, De Facto said.

Little is known about Silonov. Born in Rīga, he worked for the local department of the KGB. In recent years, Silonov has lived in Latvia with a residence permit, representing the company "Standard Invest", which had interests in the fields of transit, frozen fish, meat and real estate. He remains in custody and also protests his innocence.

De Facto also named two more individuals it said are part of the Ādamsons case, who were detained but are no longer in custody. One of them is another former KGB employee, Andris Strautmanis. He was mentioned in the 1988 KGB telephone directory among the heads of subdivisions. Later, in independent Latvia, Strautmanis held a high position in the Security Police (later renamed as the VDD). During the time of Mareks Seglins' tenure as Interior Minister, the ministry hired Strautmanis as a consultant, which even at the time caused a storm of protest from those who had been persecuted by the Soviet regime.  

Ādamsons, on the other hand, was among those who, in an interview with Latvian Television 20 years ago, said Strautmanis should be granted access to state secrets. Strautmanis' role in the Ādamsons espionage case is unclear.

Citing unofficial ssources, De Facto named a fourth person linked to the case as another former Security Police officer, Arturs Šmaukstelis. He left the security service ten years ago and found a job at Ādaži municipal police. In 2019, he almost became Deputy Chief of Police of the Carnikava Municipality, but the then-Minister of the Interior Sandis Ģirgens did not give his consent to the appointment on the basis of advice from the State Police.

In August, Šmaukstelis left the municipal police. "Unfortunately, I cannot make any comments, so please contact the State Security Service," Šmaukstelis told De Facto, while confirming that he was briefly a parliamentary assistant to Ādamsons. The investigation continues. 

De Facto also noted that a second case, not linked to the Ādamsons case, is also being probed in which the VDD, in cooperation with the Defence Intelligence and Security Service (MIDD) has detained two persons, who are suspected of prolonged collaboration with Russian military intelligence by providing classified information about the national defence sector.

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