SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Google must turn over email records to authorities investigating a political corruption scheme in Trinidad and Tobago, a federal judge ruled Monday.
The Integrity Commission of Trinidad and Tobago sued
Google last week for assistance in discovery. The commission is investigating whether Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar and other government officials tapped the phones of the island nation's top prosecutor, intimidated a journalist and bribed authorities in a scandal that local newspapers have dubbed "Emailgate."
Investigators asked for 30 emails from September 2012 to authenticate emails produced by opposition leader Keith Rowley last year. Rowley said he received hard copies of the emails from an anonymous whistle-blower.
Although Bissessar has never acknowledged that the email accounts associated with the scandal belong to her, U.S. District Judge William Orrick said Monday that the commission's request satisfies federal law for discovery in a foreign criminal investigation.
It also bears note that at least one of the officials in question has consented to Google giving up his account information, according to the ruling.
Google has 14 days after it receives the subpoena to either request that it be modified or quashed, Orrick concluded.
Trinidad and Tobago is a Caribbean country of two islands. It derives much of its national wealth from enormous, natural pools of asphalt.