Pending completion of their investigation, the DP banned Smirnovs from foreign travel and, by his own admission, had a chilling effect on his public statements and publications after the arrest. The case brought disgrace on Latvia as a violator of free expression and was the inspiration for this blog.
Smirnovs told journalists he has not changed his pessimistic view of the Latvian economy -- last October, he advised people not to keep their money in Latvian banks or in lats in a panel discussion reported by a Ventspils newspaper, triggering his detention more than a month later.
The DP also called in Valters Fridenbergs, a musician, for questioning because of jokes he cracked to a concert audience about not running off to the nearest cash dispenser (bankomat) because of worries about the Latvian economy and currency. Charges against him were dropped some months ago.