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Expelled Russian diplomat bought secrets: Latvian minister

By RIA Novosti

Riga : A Russian diplomat, expelled from Latvia last Monday, had bribed local officials to buy classified information, the Latvian interior minister has said.

The ex-Soviet state has expelled Russian embassy official Alexander Rogozhin, on charges of espionage against the country.

Moscow called the expulsion an “unfriendly act” and in a retaliatory move it expelled a Latvian embassy officer “for activities incompatible with his diplomatic status and damaging the country’s national security”.

“Rogozhin had been acquiring secret information,” Marek Seglinsh said, adding, “We would be able to give more detail only after a meeting of the ministry’s security commission scheduled Wednesday.”

However, Latvian President Valdis Zatlers said the expulsion of its diplomat from Russia was an “appropriate” response to a similar move by Riga.

This was the second time Latvia has expelled a Russian diplomat. In 2004, it expelled Pyotr Urzhumov, a Russian diplomat. Russia then expelled Juris Poikans, first secretary of the Latvian Embassy.

The Baltic state gained independence from the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1991.