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Ethics committee sees no breach in MP Sudraba's appointment as chair of ad hoc committee probing oligarch affair
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    Ethics committee sees no breach in MP Sudraba's appointment as chair of ad hoc committee probing oligarch affair

    RIGA, Sept 13 (LETA) - Majority of the members of the Latvian parliamentary committee on mandates, ethics and submissions do not see any breach of ethics in the fact that MP Inguna Sudraba (For Latvia from the Heart) had been appointed as the chairwoman of the ad hoc parliamentary committee for investigation of the so-called "oligarch affair".

    Five MPs from the ruling Unity party previously asked the committee to consider the situation in which Sudraba, who herself had been mentioned in the oligarch conversations in relation "to possible illegal interference by third country with the political processes in Latvia", had been picked as the chair of the ad hoc committee supposed to investigate those very conversations.

    However, the committee today concluded that there had been no breach of the lawmakers' code of ethics on Sudraba's part. Three committee members thought there was a breach of ethics, six did not see any breach and two members abstained.

    Loskutovs, one of those Unity's MPs, who had asked the committee to look into the matter, said at the committee meeting that there was a reason to doubt Sudraba's impartiality as the ad hoc committee chair and she should step down and leave the committee so as not to cast a shadow of doubt on its findings.

    Sudraba rejected the allegations of being pro-Kremlin, saying that she had attended an event at the Russian embassy in Latvia because she had been invited, just like she had been invited to other events hosted by different embassies. For example, recently she had attended events organized by the embassies of Uzbekistan and Switzerland.

    She also claimed that she had learned about the oligarch conversations mentioning her as Putin's favorite to become the prime minister in Latvia only after the Ir magazine had published the transcripts of those conversations.

    MP Gunars Kutris (For Latvia from the Heart) sought to defend Sudraba, noting that Andrejs Judins, one of the Unity MPs, who had wanted the ethics committee to investigate Sudraba, had also made a bid for the chairmanship of the ad hoc committee which elected Sudraba as its leader. The application to the ethics committee is only one of the many attempts to hamper the work of the ad hoc committee, Kutris claimed.

    As reported, the Latvian parliament set up an ad hoc committee to probe the so-called oligarch affair, looking for signs of state capture and examining the quality of pre-trial investigation.

    The oligarch conversations are a series of transcripts of high-ranking politicians and businessmen's conversations at Ridzene hotel in Riga which have recently been published by the Ir magazine. Those records were one of the main pieces of evidence in a 2011 criminal case on bribery, money laundering, abuse of office and other crimes, implicating a number of high-ranking politicians and public figures, including Andris Skele, Aivars Lembergs, Ainars Slesers and others. The Corruption Prevention Bureau investigated the case for several years, but eventually concluded that the secretly-recorded conversations did not constitute compelling evidence, therefore the criminal case was closed.

    • Published: 13.09.2017 14:19
    • LETA
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