Prosecutor asks Saeima to allow charges against MP in whistleblowing case

The Prosecutor General’s Office has sent documents to the Saeima, asking to allow criminal prosecution against MP Juris Jurašs (New Conservative Party, JKP) for disclosing state secrets, said Prosecutor General Ēriks Kalnmeiers in an interview with commercial LNT television on January 22.

Kalnmeiers said that the Prosecutor General’s Office is confident a criminal prosecution should be launched against Jurašs.

During a press conference later on January 22, Jurašs claimed he'd become a whistleblower to reveal negligence on the part of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB), of which he was an employee at the time.

In September 2018, KNAB closed a criminal investigation into Jurašs’ claims that he had been offered a million-euro bribe as head of the KNAB division.

Jurašs told the press he was confident the information he'd reveal was not a state secret. "In stark contrast with what I had expected -- that there'd be a criminal case over attempted bribery, -- the opposite happened and I became subject of a criminal probe," Jurašs said.

Asked whether he'd lay down his MP mandate if the Saeima votes to allow charges, Jurašs said he'd decide after the vote. 

Jurašs' party backed him, with JKP leader Jānis Bordāns claiming there's a group in Latvia conspiring to acquire power and preserve its current political and economic clout. While the party did not name anyone explicitly, Bordāns said that the recently installed Daugavpils mayor (it's Harmony's Andrejs Elksniņš) and an adviser to outgoing PM Māris Kučinskis are among such people.

"These conspirators are looking for ways to divide the public. They seek to sow discord among people," Bordāns claimed. 

The case initiated following Jurašs remarks was closed on September 11, 2018 as there were no indications of crime, according to KNAB.

In response, Jurašs said earlier that this had been expected because the investigation was delayed, and of a formal character.

Meanwhile LTV's De Facto has acquired court materials that show the source of Jurašs' accusations; Harmony MP Andrejs Elksniņš was likewise mentioned in the case. 

Information about the alleged crime was published in February 2017. Back then, Jurašs indicated, however, that about a year and a half had passed since the attempted bribery already and that this was a very long period of time. “The more time has passed the more difficult it is to prove a crime, let alone a crime requiring specific investigation techniques that have to be used from the very beginning,” Jurašs said.

As reported, Jurašs, who was fired from his job by the Corruption Prevention Bureau's chief Jaroslavs Streļčenoks, said in an interview with Ir magazine that he had been offered a €1 million bribe in return for changing the charges brought against former head of Latvian Railways (LDz) Uģis Magonis - from bribery to trading in influence, which carries a much lighter sentence.

The Corruption Prevention Bureau later said that Jurašs had said too much and therefore significantly impeded the bureau's investigation into his allegations. The Security Police started a probe against Jurašs for public disclosure of classified information.

It has also been reported, Corruption Prevention Bureau officers detained Magonis in the summer of 2015. He is suspected of accepting a €500,000 bribe from Estonian millionaire Oleg Ossinovski so that Latvijas Dzelzceļš subsidiary LDz Ritosa Sastava Serviss would purchase four old locomotives for several million euros from Ossinovski's company Skinest.

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