bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Tuesday 19.03.2019 | Name days: Jāzeps
LatviaLatvia

Ex-KNAB chief’s criminal case develops – lawyer and ex-KNAB worker detained

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvian police suspect ex-Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau’s chief Normunds Vilnītis, ex-KNAB worker Andrejs Vasiļevičs and lawyer Ieva Ramiņa of taking bribes, TV3 programme Nekā personīga.

According to TV3, some Poland-based company had paid Vilnītis’ owned firm EUR 135,000 for assistance in acquiring a transaction-processing institution’s license. It never got the license in the end, however. Latvia’s Finance and Capital Market Commission refused providing a license. The money provided by the Polish company, however, was spent by Vilnītis’ firm. With that, this criminal case could end for the former chief of Latvia’s corruption combating bureau could potentially end not only with criminal charges of bribery but also will the loss of detective license, the programme reports, adding, however, that there are still many facts unclear in this case.

Police have yet to determine who in FCMC was supposed to receive the bribe. It also remains unclear why this case was not handed to KNAB for investigation.

Normunds Vilnītis was the head of KNAB ten years ago. He was picked from seventeen contenders. However, similar to his predecessors, Vilnītis did not remain in his seat for the entire term. The committee formed by Prosecutor General Ēriks Kalnmeiers found out that Vilnītis hired people with unclear past and had also breached secrecy. There were also suspicions that he allowed unsanctioned investigations about people he was interested in, the programme reminds.

The Saeima dismissed Vilnītis in summer 2011. Three years later he founded his own detective agency.

Nekā personīga has unofficial information that Vilnītis may have had a hand in settling the interests of Norvik bank buyer Grigorijs Guseļņikovs in Latvia, which, however, resulted in a conflict between the two. Vilnītis was also spotted tailing a Saeima deputy who was then a member of the National Security Committee.

Three years ago, Polish GPN Data EUROPE bought a company in Latvia with intention of receiving a payment processing company’s license. This license would allow it to provide services in all of EU. Such companies in Latvia have to undergo a very strict and demanding evaluation procedure in FCMC, the programme reports.

«If a company is registered, it can work only here in Latvia. Once a license is provided, however, it is allowed to work in Latvia and the EU. It is the choice of every company – if they want a license. Yes, GPN Data Latvia did express a request for a license,» as confirmed by FCMC board member Gvido Romeiko.

The programme notes there were some difficulties with the evaluation process. The company was expected to reveal its true beneficiary, money origin and present free funds. The company failed to comply with FCMC’s requirements.

GPN Data Latvia then turned to Vilnītis for help. In 2016 his firm was transferred EUR 135,000. Police believe the Polish company gave money so that Vilnītis would bribe FCMC officials, TV3 programme reports. Parties involved in this case deny this. Vilnītis was convinced to participate in this scheme by his once colleague from KNAB Andrejs Vasiļevičs – he was a GPN Data Latvia employee at the time.

When asked by NP what the company wanted from Vilnītis when in exchange for the aforementioned sum of money, Andrejs Vasiļevičs said – legal assistance. He also refused to comment on the matter further.

NP reports that Vilnītis also involved sworn attorney Ieva Ramiņa in this. The reason is that many years ago the now FCMC Council Chairman Pēters Putniņš practiced law in her office. FCMC has confirmed that Ramiņa had come for talks, especially considering the presence of a lawyer is desirable during license issue procedures. Talks lasted several months but without the outcome the Polish company wanted.

Romeiko notes: «It’s a natural process: document exchange, phone calls, meetings, e-mail exchange.» He says the last time he met with Ramiņa was approximately two years ago. He denies there being any illegalities committed during that meeting. Romeiko says he did not meet with Vilnītis.

NP continues – the Polish company paid the money, but all for nothing, as Vilnītis had spent the EUR 135,000 given to him. GPN did not get its license in the end. This resulted in internal problems with the Polish management – they voted in favour of dismissal of board member Vladimirs Remi and then sued him. Remi blamed everyone else. It is likely that the Economic Crimes Prevention Office commenced the criminal process on bribery, money laundering and bribe acceptance following a request from Remi.

Chief of Criminal Police Andrejs Grišins refrained from commenting on why the case was entrusted to Economic Crimes Prevention Office and not KNAB: «We investigate cases in which we have leads. It is a matter of our competence.»

When asked about the case, ex-KNAB chief and owner of SIA Information Agency Normunds Vilnītis told journalists should direct their questions at Alla Ignatjeva. The term has ended for his detective’s certificate and Vilnītis has not extended it. However, the license that allows his company to perform such services remains in force. The law states that if Vilnītis is presented with criminal charges, his Information Agency will lose its license.

Lawyer Ieva Ramiņa, meanwhile, has asked the Bar Council to suspend her ability to practice law, which the council has done.


Leave a reply

Latvia’s 2020 budget draft sent to the parliament for first viewing

On Tuesday, 19 March, Latvian Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee conceptually supported this year’s state budget project and decided to submit it to the parliament for its first viewing. The committee decided to submit 14 additional legislative drafts associated with the budget, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

Minister: Latvia needs representatives in EP the country can be proud of

«Latvian voters should keep in mind that Latvia is represented by only eight members in the European Parliament. It is vital to find candidates we would not be ashamed of. There is no other recipe – if you want to affect the composition of the European Parliament, it is important to remember that results from votes. Nothing will change if we stand on the sidelines,» said Latvian Culture Minister and MEP candidate Dace Melbārde in an interview to BNN.

Rigvir medication distribution in Latvia halted temporarily

Bio-technology company Rigvir has decided to halt distribution of Rigvir medication in Latvia temporarily, as confirmed by Rigvir Group CEO Kristīne Jučkoviča.

Finance commission’s head says Latvia has too many banks for its small market

It is clear there are too many banks for Latvia’s domestic market, said chairman of Finance and Capital Market Commission Pēteris Putniņš in an interview to LTV programme Rīta Panorāma on Tuesday, 19 March.

Latvian residents become more optimistic about government’s work

In one month’s time Latvian residents’ opinion of Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš’s government has improved, according to data from SKDS study.

Dutch authorities arrest Utrecht tram shooter

According to Dutch authorities, the man who opened fire in a tram in Utrecht, killing three and injuring five, has been arrested.

Parliament: Latvian universities should be among 500 best in the world

Latvia’s leading universities have a clear vision for the future. It is topical for continued development of the country’s education and science sector.

Latvian minister to request police investigation in public transport company

Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry has finished its analysis of the audit performed in municipal public transport company SIA Rīgas satiksme. Soon the ministry plans to ask law enforcement institutions to provide their opinion on whether or not there had been fictive employment or other violations committed by the company, as reported by TV3 news.

Latvian prime minister urges sorting the system, not raising taxes

A number of sectors require reforms to avoid raising taxes to increase revenue, said Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš during a meeting of Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee on Monday, 18 March.

Stoltenberg calls NATO the most successful alliance in world history

NATO is the strongest, most successful alliance in history, wrote NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in an article dedicated to the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Heavy rainfall in Indonesia causes floods and landslides; death toll reaches 77

Approximately 77 people have been killed in mountain villages hit by floods and landslides caused by intense rainfall in Indonesia’s Papua Province, according to the latest information reported by Indonesian authorities.

Number of job vacancies in Latvia up 33.4% in 2018

In 2018, there were 22.7 thousand job vacancies in Latvia, which is 5.7 thousand vacancies or 33.4 % more than in 2017.

Swedbank: more than 1,400 Latvian families purchased property in regions last year

In 2018, Swedbank had issued more than 1,400 loans for property purchases within 50 km radius around Riga. This is an average of six loans issued every work day, as reported by Swedbank representative Jānis Krops.

Minister: Latvia may require radical image change because of finance sector’s problems

Considering the problems in the country’s finance sector, it will be necessary to work on radically changing the country’s image, says Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs.

Riga Mayor’s wife suspected of dubious employed in public water supply company

For eight years Riga Mayor Nils Ušakovs’ office manager Iveta Strautiņa-Ušakova worked as a consultant for municipal water supply company Rīgas Ūdens, as reported by LTV investigative journalism programme De Facto.

Latvian Centre Party to take part in European Parliament elections

A list of candidates compiled by Centre Party from Latvia has been submitted for European Parliament elections. The list is composed of fifteen candidates. This makes it the fifth list of candidates to be submitted for EP elections in Latvia so far, as reported by Central Election Commission.

Air temperature in Latvia to stay positive this week; more precipitation expected

Weather will be dominated by cyclone activity this week. Wind speed will also increase in the country’s western parts in the first half of the week. At the end of the week, air temperature to become chilly at night, as reported by Latvian State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Week in Lithuania. N-plant invites bids for repository construction contract

Lithuania's Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, which was shut down a decade ago and is now being decommissioned, invited bids for the construction of a 100-million-euro near surface repository for low and intermediate level short-lived radioactive waste.

BNN summary of the week: when is Brexit? Estonia’s government worries; more problems with Rīgas satiksme

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Attempt; Decision; Investigation; Scandal; Legislation; Expectation.

Suspect in criminal case leaves post in Alkom-Trans

SIA Alkom-Trans chairman Aleksandrs Krjačeks, who is a suspect in a criminal case regarding SIA Rīgas satiksme’s procurements, has decided to step down, according to information from Lursoft.

Eurostat: Latvia had higher annual inflation than average in EU and Eurozone

In February 2019, Latvia’s inflation was higher than the average in European Union and Eurozone, according to data published by Eurostat on Friday, 15 March.

Harmony and New Harmony to compete for seats in European Parliament

Association of parties Alternative Party, which received only 0.34% support from voters in the recent Saeima elections, has decided to start in upcoming European Parliament elections with a new name – New Harmony, as reported by Latvijas Radio.

ABLV Bank’s liquidators recover assets worth EUR 37.938 million in February

In February 2019, liquidators of ABLV Bank had successfully recovered assets worth EUR 37.938 million, which is 21% less than a month prior, according to the annual account published in Latvian Herald.

Polish Catholic church reveals mass child sex abuse by clergy

The administration of the Polish Catholic Church has stated it has since 1990 registered child sex abuse affecting 625 underage victims by 382 clergymen. Poland's Catholic Church authorities revealed the data on Thursday, March 14.

Insurer: children receive 11% more injuries during school breaks

During school breaks the frequency at which children receive injuries is 11% higher when compared to the year’s average, according to data from BTA Baltic Insurance Company.