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Latvia accuses ex-law enforcement official of ‘spying’ for Russia

Oleg Burak is facing up to 20 years in prison

RIGA, April 4. /TASS/. A former officer from the Latvian Interior Ministry, Oleg Burak, had been allegedly engaged in espionage activity in favor of Russia for a long time, harming the interests of Latvian security, the State Security Service maintained as quoted by LETA news agency on Thursday.

Defense lawyer Imma Jansone earlier confirmed that her client Burak was the individual in question. "In late March, a request came to the Prosecutor’s Office to launch a criminal case against him for espionage in favor of Russia under four articles of the Criminal Code," the news agency said, adding that he had been charged with espionage, illegal trafficking of weapons, distributing pornography and illegal trafficking of equipment meant for operational activity.

"The State Security Service reported that for a long time the Latvian national had been systematically collecting information, also containing state secrets, on assignments from a Russian intelligence service and for remuneration," it said.

In mid-October 2018, the Security Service detained the Latvian national, born in 1956, who had for a long time worked as head of the department for firearms at the Interior Ministry after Latvia had become an independent state.

He retired at the end of 2006. Digital media with more than 13,000 files, two self-made weapons, cartridges, explosives as well as equipment that individuals are prohibited from purchasing, storing and using, were found during two searches at his home. Burak is facing up to 20 years in prison.

Imma Jansone earlier told TASS that her client denied all charges and pled not guilty. Burak says the criminal case was opened against him as revenge for his fight against corruption, for which he had been sacked at a certain point in his carrier and then reinstated.