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Latvia launches criminal probe into alleged FSB ties of European MP following The Insider's investigation

Latvia's State Security Service (VDD) has initiated a criminal investigation into possible connections between European Parliament member Tatjana Ždanoka and Russian intelligence services, Delfi reported on March 16th.

While declining to provide detailed comments, the VDD confirmed the investigation has been ongoing since February 22nd, 2024.

Previously, The Insider revealed that Ždanoka had engaged in active correspondence with Russian citizens allegedly employed by the FSB, Russia's main security agency. Among other activities, she reportedly sent them updates on her work. The Insider's investigation relied on MEP's hacked electronic communications. Days later, the European Parliament stated it was conducting an internal probe, though the results have yet to be made public.

Ždanoka has denied allegations of cooperating with Russian intelligence, but did not contest the authenticity of the leaked correspondence central to the claims. However, she asserted that hacking personal emails without law enforcement authorization constitutes illegal data theft, a criminal offense.

A Member of the European Parliament since 2004, Ždanoka co-founded pro-Kremlin Latvian Russian Union party in 1998, which failed to secure parliamentary seats in the latest elections after not meeting the 5% vote threshold.

If proven, Ždanoka's purported ties to Russian intelligence could see her prosecuted for assisting a foreign power in activities detrimental to Latvian interests under laws enacted in 2016, though not retroactively applicable. While much of the correspondence fueling the cooperation claims predates 2016, a 2017 letter is also cited.

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