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Tuesday 21.11.2017 | Name days: Andis, Zeltīte
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Bribery accused Vilkaste may avoid punishment

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe decision of the Supreme Court to hand over the so-called Riga City Council officials bribery case for a repeated review to a court of lower instance provides hope for businesswoman Ināra Vilkaste to avoid punishment, according to De facto programme of LTV. The court had previously sentenced Vilkaste to two years in prison.

Six years have passed since the first arrests in this case. However, the most important episode of this case remains unresolved – the bribe worth EUR 1 million for changes to be done to land zoning in Mežapark, Rusova Street 1. The city’s development plan, which was in force until 2005, allowed the construction of 5-6 storey building there. Now it is allowed to build even a 25 storey building there.

Shortly after the confirmation of changes to the city’s development plan Vilkaste sold the land for EUR 40 million. The buyer was a company indirectly owned by a Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg. This company was managed by former Mayor of Riga Gundars Bojārs.

This deal could have ended up in the news archives as the most expensive real estate transaction of the year of not for Vilkaste’s former business partner Raimonds Štālbergs, who was at the time prosecuted for extortion of money from Vilkaste.

The fact that Vilkaste had given a bribe to then the officials of the city’s development department Vilnis Štrams and Pēterim Strancis in a shoe box was confirmed by the main witness of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau – courier Raimonds Janita.

The court ruled the fact of a bribe being given to two officials to be proven. But now that the Supreme Court has ordered this case to be reviewed again, Vilkaste will try to prove once more that the case against her was fabricated.

According to judges of the Supreme Court, there is no doubt about there being a bribe. It is only requested to determine whether or not this bribe was forced from Vilkaste. If so, she all charges against her are to be lifted.

Vilkaste remains under police monitoring. Štrams and Strancis, on the other hand, remain under arrest.

However, politicians whose names are mentioned in this bribery case remain free to this day. In a conversation between Štrams and Janita, the two discussed ‘feeding politicians’. The two mentioned once an official of Riga City Council Jānis Dinevičs, some person named Edmunds and even Andris Ameriks.

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