According to the unofficial information available to Latvian Television, the detained person is Marats Kasems, the chief editor of the Russian propaganda media “Sputnik Lithuania” and employee of the Russian propaganda outlet “Rossiya Segodnya”.
Kasems, who is a Latvian citizen, has been living in Moscow for some time. Not long before New Year's, he posted on social media that he had arrived in Latvia.
In his interview with the newspaper Segodnya, he complained that he was afraid of returning to Latvia, because he could be jailed here as an “enemy of the people”.
In May 2019, Kasems was expelled from Lithuania, which declared him a “person non grata” and banned him from entering the country for at least five years.
In 2013, in Latvia's municipal elections, Kasems ran for the seat of a member of the Salaspils Council from the “Harmony Centre” list, but was not elected.
VDD said that the detention was carried out in the framework of criminal proceedings initiated by VDD for alleged infringement of EU sanctions (Article 84, first paragraph of the Criminal Law).
VDD, without mentioning Kasems' name, said the service had followed the detainee's activities for a long time since he works in one of the information resources of the Kremlin-controlled agency Rossiya Segodnya, which distributes messages that match the Kremlin's interests, including regularly discrediting Latvia and its allied countries. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, this pro-Kremlin propaganda-making and spreading resource has been blocked in EU member states in connection with Russian military aggression against Ukraine and actions to destabilize the situation in other European countries.
The detained Latvian citizen holds a leading position in this information resource, organizing and managing content formation. The person lived and worked in Russia for several years, but arrived in Latvia at the end of 2022.
VDD recalled that it is prohibited to transfer financial and economic resources, including work, to companies subject to sanctions.
The person has the status of a suspect and has been arrested as a means of security. The investigation continues.