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Sunday 19.01.2020 | Name days: Alnis, Andulis

Court arrests Škoda commercial director; CPCB request arrests for two more people

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvian court has arrested Škoda commercial director Vladislav Kozak following a request from Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau in relation to the criminal case regarding procurements performed by Rīgas satiksme.

On Thursday, 13 December, the court will decide on arresting two more individuals – businessman Aleksandrs Krjačeks and Edgars Teterovskis, as reported by lsm with reference to information from Latvijas Radio and LTV.

Kozak was brought to court first early in the morning. He offered no comments to the media. The second accused was brought to court in the afternoon.

BNN had previously reported that businessman Māris Martinsons and Rīgas satiksme Infrastructure Maintenance and Development director Igors Volkinšteins have been arrested as part of the same criminal process.

According to information from CPCB, a criminal process was launched in November in relation to procurements organized by RS. A total of thirty searches have been performed and eight people have been detained – six in Latvia and two more in Poland.

Poland’s Central Anti-Corruption Bureau mentions that Polish and Latvian authorities have detained people who helped hide a bribe worth EUR 800,000. The statement mentions that CPCB arrested people in Riga responsible for helping to hide a bribe worth EUR 800,000 related to the supply of nearly 200 buses and trolleybuses to Riga. Procurements were organized by RS in 2013-2016.

As reported by Polish CAB, the EUR 800,000 was to be paid in small instalments, hiding behind fictive consultation services using a number of branches in Latvia, Cyprus, Hong Kong and China before the money finally ended up in Riga.

The statement also explains that officers in Poland have detained a board member of Poznań city public transport manufacturing company. Polish authorities also detained one of the company’s commercial directors in Warsaw. Detainees were then delivered to Poznań Regional Prosecutor’s Office, where they were presented with charges of corruption and money laundering.

According to archive data from LETA, for years RS procures trolleybuses and buses from Poland-based Solaris Bus & Coach.

SIA Velve, a company associated with Martinsons, was involved in RS hydrogen refuelling station construction project.

In October 2016, the procurement project organized by RS to acquire hydrogen-powered vehicles was won by Polish S.A. Solaris Bus&Coach. The total contract price was EUR 21,499,670 (without VAT).

RS representative Viktors Zaķis told LETA procurement of transports would be performed within a wider project’s range. EU project provides for construction of hydrogen roads, which includes building hydrogen fuel stations in Riga, Jelgavas Street, as well as procuring ten trolleybuses and ten buses powered by hydrogen.

Velve said in a conversation with LETA that it would not comment the possibility of CPCB having performed any investigative actions in the company’s office. LETA could not contact Velve marketing and communication manager Ieva Šaripo.

According to information from RS website, the municipal company had signed a contract with SIA Hydrogenis and Martinsons’ Velve in October 2016 for the development and implementation of the hydrogen fuel station. The project’s costs were estimated at EUR 16.1 million, half of which came from the European Union.

It was planned to commission the hydrogen fuel station and production factory at the end of 2017, but the project was never implemented.

During an extraordinary meeting of Riga City Council’s Transport Committee in June, RS Legal Affairs Office manager Didzis Stepe said hydrogen fuel station’s construction work has concluded. He said it cost EUR 4.5 million. However, he said because refuelling and hydrogen production would take place there, technical coordination processes still continue.

Stepe said hydrogen-powered trolleybuses are ready to be commissioned and used. Nevertheless, tests to check technological compatibility still continue.

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