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Monday 16.07.2018 | Name days: Hermīne, Estere
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Bribery accused Latvian official not found in Vena; authorities may start international manhunt

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Vladimirs Vaskevics

Vladimirs Vaskevics

Even though the bribery accused Vladimir Vaskevics stated the Hospital of the Brethren of Mercy in Vena as his last location, he is not there. Defendants of the accused continue to claim that Vaskevics is sick and will need more time to recover.

Neither Vaskevics’ defendants nor the officials of the prosecutor’s office and court claim Vaskevics is nowhere to be found. However, it is possible that an international manhunt may be announced in the near future, Nekā personīga (Nothing personal) programme of TV3 reports.

The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (CPCB) has been watching the founder of an influential contraband combating centre – Vaskevics – for some time. According to the charges, Vaskevics gave his former colleague – deputy director general of the State Revenue Service (SRS) Talis Kravals – bribes so that he would close his eyes on cargo containing alcohol contraband, and so that the SRS would cease inspections against companies working at Riga Free port. Vaskevics remained in custody for several months. He was released for bail (60 000 LVL) on March 28, 2011. Vaskevics then said he would do everything he can to prove his innocence. He called in a number of lawyers and foreign human rights specialists.

The bribery case was never properly reviewed by the court. One and a half year ago, Vaskevics was spotted at Riga airport, fleeing the country. The court had allowed him to leave for a few days, but he never returned. The bribery case is not the only one where Vaskevics is a prime figure. He is also being tried for stating false information in his official declaration. In the criminal case that has three suspects tried for assassinations, Vaskevics is a victim, because there is proof that the same suspects had organized the blowing of the car of Chief of SRS Customs Criminal Office in 2007. Vaskevics survived but injured his leg. Lawyers claim that Vaskevics’ leg is the reason he was being treated in Austria. The accused is obligated to state his location: Vaskevics stated the Hospital of the Brethren of Mercy in Vena as his last location. The aforementioned medical institution told the programme that no patient by the name Vaskevics was being treated there.

It is unknown whether Vaskevics had ever been to the hospital in Vena, but even if his treatment course had ended, he was still obligated to inform authorities about his current address. Vaskevics’ defendants neither confirm nor deny his disappearance, saying that all matters regarding the criminal proceedings are kept in secret.

Vaskevics still remains as the Finance Ministry’s senior expert. “We are not proud of this situation”, – the ministry told the programme. However, Vaskevics cannot be fired until the criminal proceedings end. Vaskevics salary at the ministry is no longer paid.

If an international manhunt for Vaskevics is announced, Austria will need to hand over Vaskevics to Latvia. According to unofficial information, Vaskevics has already left Austria.

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