It appears that the probe launched by the Latvian General Prosecutor’s Office (GPO) has failed – the notorious Latvenergo 3-million-lats ($5.6m) court case has been terminated.
It should be added that the case was associated with such “big” names as Andris Skele, Aivars Lembergs, Andris Grutups and others.
It was terminated on September 7 due to negative prescription of criminal prosecution.
Charges against against Grutups and a number of other persons were dropped as “their activities showed no nature of criminal offense”.
The GPO has given up any hopes to find out where the missing LVL 3 million went, reports Pietiek. The whistle-blower site has obtained a copy of the document on ending the criminal proceedings.
The notorious court case started off back on December 30, 1994, when Bank Baltija and Finansu norekinu centrs signed an agreement on granting the latter a loan of LVL 10 million ($18.8m). Latvian energy monopoly Latvenergo president Gunars Koemecs and chief accountant Leons Marcinkus signed the loan guarante.
The following spring, Energy Minister Juris Ozolins dismissed Latvenergo president. Meanwhile, the prime minister’s advisor Eizens Cepurnieks announced that Koemecs had worked on a secret privatization plan. On April 26, they appointed a new president – then-60-year-old Edgars Birkans.
In 1997, David Berry, liquidator of Banka Baltija, which was closed down two years earlier, entitled the right to recover the LVL 10 million to a Liechtenstein offshore International Finance Company Establishment. The bank was supposed to get back LVL 5 million, but Latvenergo gave the offshore, meaning its unknown owners, LVL 3 million more.
The gap was spotted by the media, paving the way to the so-called Latvenergo 3-million-case. Neither the police probe, nor the parliamentary inquiry gave any significant results. Members of the the company’s management team were imposed only minor punishments.
However, what put the case into the spotlight was the suspiciously large number of deaths around it.
The toll was “opened” by the 46-year-old Koemecs himself, who allegedly died of a heart failure
Later former Latvian Prime Minister Maris Gailis write in his memoirs that the man did not die of natural causes.
“I have no proof. I asked the GPO to conduct a special analysis using the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation technical assistance. There were either no results or I was kept in dark over them,” he wrote.
Over the coming years, car crashes claimed the lives of Latvenergo lawyer, Ervins Degro, and the State Audit Office’s employee, Valdis Vilcins, who had audited the company. Marcinkus passed away in the autumn of 199 and Andis Bumbieris, the former advisor Economy Minister Laimonis Strujevivs, died the same year.
Law enforcement agencies concluded that there was nothing unnatural about the deaths. They said Koemecs indeed died of a heart failure, but Bumbieris fell (or jumped) from the balcony of his home. Marcinkus was believed to have died of allergic reaction after having been stung by a wasp.
But this did not do away with all the suspicion around the case.
The GPO officially destroyed the documents on the findings about Marcinkus’ death, while Bumbieris’ widow kept changing her mind. At first, she claimed that her husband’s map of documents was missing but later announced she was wrong.
Strangely enough, the then-Prosecutor General Janis Skrastins came up with quite a weird statement: “All circumstances show that it was not possible to kill Bumbieris, given the situation at his home.”
The GPO has so far refused to comment.