Man charged with hooliganism for running fake Latvian news websites

The prosecutor's office of the Riga judicial district has brought charges against Niks Endziņš, who last year was detained for producing and spreading fake news, LETA reported July 15.

Without naming the person, the prosecutor's representative Laura Majevska told LETA that three persons were charged with hooliganism last week. Information obtained by LETA suggests that one of the three persons facing the hooliganism charges is Endziņš.

Also known as Neids, Endziņš is a self-styled musician who incidentally wrote a song about his experiences in detention and later on challenged fellow attention-seeker Andris Kivičs to a boxing match that was widely publicized but eventually cancelled.

The pre-trial investigation of the case is still ongoing.

As reported, the State Police's Cyber Crime Unit in July 2018 opened a criminal case after several companies and public institutions complained about fake news being circulated online with the purpose to disturb the peace, the State Police reported.

The Cyber Crime Unit was able to trace the fake news to at least seven online portals where they were originally published: tv-play.lv, neticams.net, redzams.lv, redzams.net, kasjauns.net, parvisu.net, and atklats.com. The portals were maintained by several persons who shared the fake news with users of different social networks, prompting people to visit the websites where the fake news stories were published.

The fake news stories dealt with all kinds of disasters, traffic accidents and suchlike, for instance, collapsing shopping malls, falling planes, major car crashes, with the goal of luring as many visitors as possible to the websites. The persons running the websites were paid by online advertisers for each visitor to their websites, the police said.

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