Chief of Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau Yarosvlav Strelchenok has indirectly confirmed that the bureau has asked the prosecutor’s office to launch criminal prosecution of Aivars Lembergs and Ainars Slesers.
In his interview to Riga TV24, Strelchenok confirmed without mentioning names that KNAB has submitted materials for the launch of criminal prosecution of two people previously confirmed as suspects. In addition, these two individuals had previously publicly confirmed their suspect status. As previously reported, Slesers and Lembergs were both made suspects in the so-called oligarchs case.
Prosecutor Maris Leja is the one to make the decision on prosecution. He was the one who represented KNAB in multiple criminal processes. Leja had previously noted that he had received materials of a criminal case from KNAB this week. He did not say which case he has been given and which individuals KNAB wishes to see criminally prosecuted.
According to information from LTV, in spring 2011 KNAB had come to the conclusion that Lembergs had traded influence in favour of Vice-Mayor of Riga Andris Ameriks becoming member of the board of Riga Freeport after the previous Vice-Mayor of Riga, Ainars Slesers, decided to leave his post in the municipality and Riga Freeport.
KNAB believes Lembergs had initially wanted to remove Leonid Loginov from his post in Riga Freeport. In exchange for this, he promised a vote from UGF representative Viesturs Silenieks in favour of Ameriks. But this request was declined. So instead Lembergs requested to have Riga Freeport to pay for advertisement contracts with Mediju nams publishing house.
Initially, KNAB classified this activity as bribery. Now, however, Lembergs’ possible crime will be classified differently.
Lembergs said the status of a suspect in a criminal case in which he is accused of serious crimes does not bother him: «This is the tenth time I am made a suspect. One case is in court, but nothing more has been done. We will see, but I remain absolutely calm,» – he said.
Slesers, on the other hand, had previously noted that he does not admit his guilt in crimes KNAB accuses him of. Slesers has no right to reveal in accordance with which sections of the law he is held suspect. He only mentioned he is not related to any crimes listed in the Criminal Law.
The so-called oligarchs case was launched in 2011 in accordance with sections of the Criminal Law in regard to bribery, money laundering, abuse of official power and breach of restrictions for officials.
Initially there were 11 people involved in this case. KNAB carried out searches in multiple locations in Latvia, including properties owned by influential politicians – Aivars Lembergs property in Puze, Riga City Council, the office of Andris Skele’s family’s owned Uzņēmumu vadība un konsultācijas and other enterprises.
KNAB also carried out searches in the office of Mediju nams publishing house and the office of then the holder of Diena controlling package of shares Viesturs Koziols.