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Andris Ameriks steps down as Vice-Mayor of Riga

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe vice-Mayor of Riga Andris Ameriks has decided to step down. He announced his decision at a press-briefing on Monday, 17 December.

Ameriks will remain a deputy of Riga City Council. He mentioned during the press-briefing that his decision is not in any way associated with Rīgas satiksme’s procurement projects and the possible illegalities in them, as reported by lsm.lv.

He explained his decision to step down with the matter of reputation: «In a situation when an investigation regarding different illegalities is being performed at Riga City Council, I believe my reputation the reputation of Riga City Council and my party is at risk».

He also explained how he knows businessman Māris Martinsons, who was recently detained by authorities as part of Rīgas satiksme’s corruption case. «I’ve known Māris Martinsons for many years, a decade even. I believe this is the main root for all suspicions against me. I have never participated in or organized any illegal deals since I’ve known him,» said Ameriks.

He also said not a single law enforcement institution has noticed anything wrong with his declaration.

As reported by TV3 programme Nekā personīga, a search has been performed in Ameriks’ home as part of the corruption case commenced by the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau.

Taureņu bathhouse, where CPCB had recorded to conversation between Māris Martinsons and Bank of Latvia governor Ilmārs Rimšēvičs, became the beginning of the a new investigation into the years-worth of schemes at Rīgas satiksme. Conversations recorded in the bathhouse revealed a closed group of people who objective was making sure part of the millions diverted to RS for procurements ended up in specific people’s pockets as bribes. CPCB reveals this group was involved in at least three procurements of trolleybuses, buses and trams, with the total worth of procurements exceeding EUR 270 million.

Matrinsons and Ameriks are linked by business deals. In 2010, Ameriks lent Martinsons’ Prosperity Financing Limited half a million euros. According to information from Nekā personīga, the same offshore company owned by Martinsons was one of the owners of 4Finance. In 2014 and onward, Ameriks and his son stated in their declarations that they had purchased shares of 4Finance and Mogo. The two fast loan companies hidden behind offshores have a lot in common. Since 2014, Ameriks and his son have received more than EUR 600,000 in interest from those companies.

Aleksandrs Krjačeks, whose company was likely used to process the money intended as bribes, is the founder of Ameriks’ Honour to Serve Riga political party. In six years he has donated more than EUR 70,000 to this party. Krjačeks has also provided support to Harmony, but with more modest amounts. Ameriks, however, distances himself from Krjačeks and claims the latter will be excluded from the party. Ameriks was also mostly silent about CPCB’s performed search in his home, Nekā personīga reports.

Representatives detained as part of the RS corruption case may be sentenced for up to ten years in prison. Admitting the recipient of the bribe would reduce the sentenced.

LTV programme De Facto reports that Ameriks, who refrained from admitting if his office and home was searched by CPCB, could not explain the video in which he is seen together with Māris Martinsons in some restaurant in Minsk. Martinsons was arrested as part of a criminal process following a request from CPCB last week. His is suspected of organizing money laundering services, as reported by De Facto.


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