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Sunday 25.02.2018 | Name days: Alma, Annemarija

Zakharin and Segal are no longer suspects in Liepājas metalurgs criminal process

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUFormer owners of Liepājas metalurgs Sergei Zakharin and Ilya Segal received a big present from prosecutor Uldis Kursinskis, who lifted their status as suspects in the LM criminal process. This criminal process was launched following a request from Kirov Lipman.

Lipman, on the other hand, is no longer a victim in this criminal case, Pietiek reports.

‘Yes, I have made such a decision [lifting Lipman’s victim status]. I have also made the decision to lift suspect status [Zakharin and Segal],’ – said Kursinskis in his interview to Pietiek. According to unofficial sources, this decision was a surprise to the Prosecutor General’s Office, which had previously given an informal approval to launch criminal prosecution of the two former owners of LM.

State Police Office of Economic Crimes had launched a criminal process in regard to the possible criminal activity performed by LM officials, including misappropriation of funds and assets. The criminal process was launched August 21, 2012. As part of it, authorities investigated reports regarding alleged criminal activities of LM officials over the course of many years (going back as far as 2003).

One of the ways funds were ‘pumped’ out of LM was the unreasonable remuneration policy for members of the Board of LM. Another notable method was the scrap metal procurement scheme: scrap metal was bought in Kazakhstan and Russia on behalf of a company registered in the UK. LM then bought the scrap from this company at much higher prices. The difference remained in the UK registered company, which then transferred the money to LM’s owners. According to estimates, the annual amount of money the company transferred to them was nearly LVL 3.5 million. LM itself never received even a small part of this money. Police report LM had a number of schemes using offshore companies to handle products manufactured by LM

As it turns out, however, the Economic Crimes Office has not been carrying out any investigation activities in this criminal case for more than four months. The reason for this is that the materials of the criminal process are still being ‘reviewed’ by Kurzeme District Prosecutor’s Office since 2013. The prosecutor’s office has yet to provide any explanations as to why it is taking them so long to review documents of a single criminal case.

December 2013 prosecutor Kursinskis made the decision to lift suspect status for Zakharin and Segal, as well as lift Lipman’s victim status in this criminal case.

It is stated in Kursinskis’ decision that a request from Lipman’s authorized representative was received August 2012. In this request it is mentioned that LM had been paying LVL 700 per month to maintain Zakharin’s securities since 2004. According to Lipman, this allowed Zakharin to claim a total of LVL 64,924 from the company. Therefore, according to Lipman, this created losses for LM and its shareholders. After receiving this request, State Police Economic Crimes Office launched a criminal process August 21, 2012. However, as Kursinskis noted in his decision, he had not found any proof of any financial damage as a result of the company having to pay for one of its shareholders personal needs [specifically maintaining Zakharin’s securities account].

‘Kirov Lipman was declared a victim in this criminal case August 28, 2012. It is stated in the decision that Kirov Lipman had suffered financial losses. The only proof of this damage at the point of making this decision was the payments performed by LM to maintain Zakharin’s securities account. The fact of actual financial losses being suffered at one point or another was not confirmed during the pre-trial investigation,’ – Kursinskis notes in his decision.

The prosecutor believes the decision to declare Lipman a victim in this criminal case was ‘made in haste, without first determining whether or not actual losses had been suffered.’

With that, the August 28, 2012 decision to see Lipman as a victim is to be cancelled, says Kursinskis. The decision to consider Zakharin’s and Segal’s suspects in this criminal case is to be cancelled as well.

According to information from Pietiek, Kursinskis is the same person who had previously made the decision to end the criminal process that was launched in 2012 in regard to LM’s subsidiary Liepājas Osta LM and its ‘possibly illegal activities with scrap metal in the territory of Liepaja’s special economic zone’. This criminal process was quietly ended last year. It was done a mere two weeks after the Customs Criminal Investigation Department submitted materials to the prosecutor’s office to launch criminal proceedings.


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