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MEP: Zhdanok case casts shadow over topics I deal with

Jana Toom
Jana Toom Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

MEP Jana Toom (Center) said allegations the Latvian MEP Tatjana Zdanoka cooperated with the Russian security service cast a shadow over the issues that Toom deals with, such as the rights of non-citizens.

In an interview with ERR on Monday, Toom said she was surprised by an article published by The Insider that outlines Ždanoka's activities with the FSB.

"I don't know where the money is coming from and who is asking whom and who meets whom at the locomotive. So yes, it was a surprise to me," said Toom.

Toom said she deals with some of the same topics, such as non-citizens, but there have been no indications that Zhdanok cooperated with the FSB.

"I haven't spoken to her yet. /.../ But if what is stated there (in the article) is true, it is of course very sad," said Toom. 

The Estonian MEP added she is not friends with Zhdanok but intends to ask her about the article.

"But of course, I'll probably change my attitude towards her quite a lot, because there are things you don't do. We also have a code of ethics in Parliament. We do not have these things explicitly forbidden by the code of ethics, but it's always been very clear to me that if you are going to do something, you do it transparently, you do not take anybody's money, foreign money, whether it is friendly foreign money or hostile foreign money, you just do not do those things. I think that goes without saying," said Toom.

Toom said Russian special services have never offered her money.

She said this case also casts a shadow on the issues she deals with.

"In this case, I am not interested in the shadow that falls on me. What bothers me a lot is that this whole story stigmatizes very strongly the issues that I deal with. For example, we have a petition coming up for debate in the European Parliament in March concerning the Latvian Government's plan to deport 1,000 or more Russian citizens. And, of course, I can now take the poison that some MEP will turn up in the Chamber and having read this article and thereby kill the debate. It is very sad," said Toom.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

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