Google Asked to Help Corruption Probe
SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Investigators from Trinidad and Tobago want to subpoena Google for email records in an alleged corruption scheme involving the country's prime minister.
The Integrity Commission of Trinidad and Tobago sued Google on Monday in Federal Court, seeking assistance in discovery.
The commission is investigating Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar and other government officials in a scandal that local newspapers have dubbed "emailgate."
An opposition leader in parliament claimed that officials, including the prime minister, conspired to tap the phone of the country's director of public prosecutions, to intimidate a journalist, and to pay money for "the freedom of an unnamed person," according to the court filing and a report from the Trinidad & Tobago Guardian newspaper.
In May 2013, opposition leader Keith Rowley presented a series of emails, only available in hardcopy, connected to the alleged scandal. Rowley said the emails came from an anonymous whistleblower.
The commission asked Google for about 30 emails from September 2012, to see if it can authenticate Rowley's claims.
The prime minister has not confirmed that any of the email addresses in question belong to her, court documents state.
Other officials have given investigators permission to check the contents of their email.
The commission is represented by Gina Durham, with DLA Piper.
Trinidad and Tobago is a Caribbean country of two islands. It derives much of its national wealth from enormous, natural pools of asphalt.