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Paul Valery
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Zatlers: Šlesers had an informer in KNAB

Valdis Zatlers/flickr.com.
The talks recorded in Rīdzene Hotel are authentic. In addition, then the politician Ainārs Šlesers had mentioned that he had an informer in Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau, said ex-president of Latvia Valdis Zatlers during a meeting of the parliamentary investigative committee.

Zatlers’ interview commenced with questions from the committee’s head – Inguna Sudraba. In particular, she asked if Zatlers was aware of the secret meetings in the hotel when he was president.

«I can confidently say that they [talks] are authentic,» said Zatlers. Šlesers was the one who told him about the recording. He complained to the president that KNAB was illegally listening in on his meetings and that he had an informer in the bureau who told him about this. Šlesers asked Zatlers to ‘do something about that’ as president.

Šlesers refused to give Zatlers the name of his informer, however. Considering that Zatlers was president and therefore had no right to intervene in the investigation, the conversation between the two ended with that.

Zatlers did not deny that he had an interest in the investigation of the oligarchs case. After his meeting with Šlesers, prosecutor general Ēriks Kalnmeiers told the president that the wire-tapping process was taking too long. He did, however, promise to do everything in his power to submit the case to court as soon as possible.

Conversations between politicians and businessmen recorded in Ridzene hotel served as one of the main pieces of evidence in the so-called Oligarch case launched in 2011.

Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau spend years investigating this case. Unfortunately, it turned out that the recorded conversations are not enough to raise charges, so the criminal process was ended.

On 28 May 2011, after the Saeima refused to sanction a search in Šlesers’ home, Zatlers initiated a referendum to dissolve the Saeima. The majority of Latvian residents voted in favour and the Saeima was dissolved.


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