The European Parliament has launched an internal investigation into Latvian MEP Tatjana Ždanoka following the release of The Insider’s investigation into her ties to the FSB. According to a statement from spokesperson Jüri Lass cited by Deutsche Welle, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola is taking the allegations against the Latvian MEP “very seriously” and has referred the matter to the Advisory Committee on the Code of Conduct.
“This means that investigations within the European Parliament have been opened,” Lass added.
Metsola will also bring the issue to the Parliament’s Conference of Presidents on Jan. 31.
If the investigation results confirm the accusations, it could lead to sanctions against Ždanoka from the President of the European Parliament, according to Deutsche Welle. At the same time, the Parliament cannot dismiss an MEP, but the Latvian authorities can do so under certain conditions.
The Latvian State Security Service (VDD) also promised to check the information about Ždanoka's cooperation with the FSB. “VDD assesses that T. Ždanok’s status as the deputy of European Parliament and her legal immunity ensured by her status, was a significant aspect that contributed to her activities to support Russia’s geopolitical interests,” the Latvian security service said in a press release on Jan. 29.
The VDD also noted that Ždanoka's activities from 2005 to 2013 could not be qualified as a crime, as criminal liability for cooperation with a foreign state was only introduced in Latvia in 2016.
“Even though VDD’s assessment is that such activities posed threat to our country and VDD also informed about it both higher government officials, decision makers at that time and society, it was not possible to call a person to criminal liability for such activities,” read the press release.
On Jan. 29, The Insider released its investigation into Ždanoka, which confirmed that she corresponded with Russian nationals, believed to be FSB operatives, and sent them reports of her activities. The investigation is based on the MEP’s leaked email correspondence.
Ždanoka has been a member of the European Parliament since 2004. She co-founded the Russian Union of Latvia party, which was founded in 1998 and promotes a pro-Russian agenda. The party failed to pass the five percent threshold in the last parliamentary elections.