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Wednesday 20.06.2018 | Name days: Rasa, Rasma, Maira

CPCB has most likely failed to acquire solid evidence in «oligarchs case»

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has most likely failed to acquire solid evidence in the so-called oligarchs case, according to information from Ir magazine. This is why the case could fall apart, as 2015 marks the end of the term set for application of criminal liability for former politician Ainars Slesers.

This case was originally launched four years ago. In it, eleven people are held suspect for bribery, money laundering, abuse of power and numerous instances of breaching the law.

Although Chief of CPCB Yaroslav Strelchenok claims that the oligarchs case could be submitted for launch of criminal prosecution in the first half of the year, the prosecutor’s office has no information as to when it can expect the submission of this case, writes Ir.

While the investigation of the case continues with no tangible results, the term at which authorities can prosecute Ainars Slesers for any possible breaches of legislative restrictions established for officials continues to dwindle away. Slesers denies any interests he may or may not have in Riga Trade Port, which is one of the main objects of the investigation.

Of course, he had just as vigorously denied allegations of being the true owner of Jaunriga Development Company a couple of years ago. Now, however, his personal involvement has become officially proven.

Companies indirectly owned by Slesers’ and Andris Skele’s family had bought JDC last year. This deal has provided the first official link of the ex-politician with this company.

Slesers is a member of the board of Euro Rail Trans, which has announced its ambitious plans for the Baltic cargo transport market. «With help from Russian Railway, we have managed to create a company based on a 50/50 principle, and we have reached an exclusive agreement on this in regard to this [Baltic] region,» – said Slesers.

It is entirely possible that CPCB will try proving that certain deals between Slesers and Viesturs Koziols are actually «acts of bribery with long-term goals». However, it is currently unclear if the bureau is even capable of collecting enough evidence to support such assumptions in court.

According to information from Ir magazine, the prosecutor’s office believes recordings of conversations can be interpreted in various ways. This is why such evidence would not be enough for this case. «Even if it is clear that a bribe had been given during the conversation, it should be kept in mind that the whole conversation may have been an act,» – as noted by sources in the prosecutor’s office.

The opinions of CPCB, prosecutor’s office and the court differ on certain matters in this investigation process. CPCB and the prosecutor’s office, for example, have different opinions on whether or not it is necessary to isolate the episode in regard to election of the head of Riga Freeport Board. CPCB believes Aivars Lembergs could have been prosecuted for requesting a bribe in exchange for votes during the meeting of the freeport’s board. The prosecutor’s office, on the other hand, believes this episode cannot be isolated from the case. Even after Slesers ceased being a Saeima deputy and no longer under protection of immunity provided by the Saeima, CPCB had requested permission to carry out a search in his home. The court had declined the request.

Recently this case’s supervisory investigator left CPCB. This investigator is one of Strelchenok’s critics, Janis Baumanis. He was one of the investigators that were in charge of this case. A great deal of hope was put into his experience in order to solve this case. Now CPCB refrains from giving any predictions. «We have done more than we planned in this case. But it seems it was not enough. We cannot look at this case without glancing at what has been going on in the bureau lately,» – said a source in CPCB.


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