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Judins: materials from Oligarch case show that there are signs of state capture

Andrejs Judins/flickr.com/Saeima.
The Criminal Law does not have the term state capture. However, materials of the oligarch case include multiple examples that such a phenomenon does exist in reality, said member of Saeima’s parliamentary investigation committee Andrejs Judins said on Tuesday, 29 August.

During the meeting, Judins informed members of the committee and the chief of Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau Jekabs Straume of the signs of state capture.

Judins explained that it is not possible to introduce criminal liability for state capture in Latvia. He added that the Criminal Law does not cover the term «state capture». State capture is a phenomenon when a group of people acquire power in a country to serve their personal interests. The term means illegally influencing state processes to satisfy one’s personal interests, Judins said.

Judins also explained how state capture can be determined. «First of all, signs include influence of the legislative process through illegitimate means, illegal financing of political parties and provision of benefits to deputies in exchange for servicing the interests of the sponsor,» Judins said.

He continues: «Secondly, state capture can exist on the level of executive power, when decisions of the government or other institutions are used by individuals or groups to serve their personal interests. Thirdly, this phenomenon can exist as influence of law enforcement institutions in the form of non-payment of wages or putting loyal people in high posts. Finally, state capture can appear in the form of influential individuals affecting the work and independence of the media.»

Judins, looking at materials of oligarch talks, concluded that there are multiple signs of state capture. For example, conversations in which oligarchs discussed plans for appointing loyal people for the post of state president and prosecutor general prove this as much. «The main criterion for approving new officials is loyalty, not honesty. Going through materials of the case, I came to the conclusion that this is an unfortunate reality in Latvia,» Judins said.


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