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A new turn in Jurmala Mayor’s criminal case; prosecutor starts repeated investigation

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvia’s Prosecutor General’s Office gas decided to commence criminal prosecution of businessman Jūlijs Krūmiņš, his daughter Maija Čerņavska and an official of the State Health Inspectorate. As for Jurmala Mayor Gatis Truksnis – there are currently no plans to raise charges. His criminal case has been returned to Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau for an additional investigation, as confirmed by CPCB.

On 8 May, CPCB told the press that a request was submitted to the Prosecutor General’s Office in April to commence criminal prosecution of a sixth person, an official of Jurmala City Council, a private person and a board member of a commercial association. It is known that Truksnis is the municipal official, Krūmiņš is the private person, and Čerņavska is the board member of the commercial association.

The unknown official is asked to be accused of two crimes involving bribery and one crime involving forgery of official position. Jurmala municipality’s official is accused of two crimes involving bribery.

Board member of a commercial association is accused of corruptive activities. Criminal prosecution has commenced against one of their relative. The person is also accused of bribery.

CPCB’s statement to the press mentions that the representative of the commercial association had submitted an application addressed to the Jurmala municipality’s official at the beginning of 2015. The representative asked the official to evaluate and perform changes to territorial planning; changing the status of a real estate property CPCB calls the ‘object’. The relative of the businessman offered a bribe to Jurmala municipality’s official – an apartment in free use. The relative then called the Jurmala municipality’s official, telling them they wish to show this apartment.

The member of the commercial association turned to the sixth person, asking them to assess the property and issue a report to be submitted to the construction office.

Construction of the object was finished in 2015. The sixth person performed the inspection and issued a negative report. The member of the commercial association then met with the sixth person to discuss what should be done to commission the object.

When the relative contacted the official of the construction office, the latter confirmed that Jurmala municipality’s official had expressed interest in the object on multiple occasions, asking questions about problems and reasons behind delays. This means Jurmala municipality’s official had surveyed the object personally, influencing decisions of their subordinates, as reported by CPCB.

During the investigation CPCB found that Jurmala municipality’s official had contacted the relative to find out when they would be able to inspect the apartment (bribe). The official and the relative later met and inspected the apartment together.

Later on the member of the commercial association’s board had personally submitted a repeated application to the sixth person, reaching an agreement about the trip to the object. The relative was informed of this. The relative them offered to provide a spot in an education facility to a relative of the sixth person. The latter accepted this offer.

CPCB believe that the sixth person had performed an evaluation of the object, writing false information in the final report. The sixth person prepared a positive report, knowing that they had put intentionally false information in it. The document was then submitted for signing to the manager.

The relative then received word from the member of the commercial association that the report submitted by the sixth person stated in favour of commissioning the object. The relative met with the sixth person and the two went to the education facility to meet with its director.

The object was commissioned in May 2015. After that, the board member of the commercial association handed over keys to the apartment to Jurmala municipality’s official. The sixth person then told the relative of the member of the commercial association that their relative had successfully enrolled in the education institution.

CPCB reports that Jurmala municipality’s official voted in favour of changing territorial planning in 2016. Changes applied to the object in question.

Authorities arrested Jurmala municipality’s official on 10 October 2016.

This year, CPCB made the decision to apply enforcement measures against the commercial association of the official participating in the scheme.

CPCB reports that the prosecutor’s office has raised charges against the sixth person, member of the board of the commercial association and their relative. The crime committed by Jurmala municipality’s official has been isolated in a separate criminal process. CPCB will perform a repeated investigation, as confirmed by prosecutor Māris Leja.

The prosecutor did not mention if criminal prosecution also applies to Krūmiņš and Čerņavska. Krūmiņš has confirmed that charges have been presented to him. He is convinced, however, that he has done no wrong.

He says the criminal process is associated with construction of a house in Jurmala in 2015. That year, a law was adopted, stating that houses must have at least five restrooms for invalids. Because of that, local authorities refused to commission the house. The businessman says he had spoken with then the Healthcare Minister Guntis Belēvičs, who then contacted a worker of the Health Inspectorate. This worker gave Černavska three months to add corrections to the house so that it would fit new standards.

Krūmiņš claims the bribe in question was a bottle or glass of champagne that was served on the table after the signing of all documents. Because of that, he sees nothing wrong with his actions.


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