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Wednesday 18.09.2019 | Name days: Liesma, Elita, Alita
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Ex-mayor Nils Ušakovs made a suspect in Rīgas satiksme procurement case

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Nils Ušakovs

Ex-mayor of Riga and newly-elected member of the European Parliament Nils Ušakovs from Harmony has been made a suspect in the criminal case regarding the dubious procurements performed by public transport company Rīgas satiksme, as confirmed by Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB).

Corruption watchdog notes that as a result of investigative activities in the criminal process, investigators confiscated from Ušakovs’ office in Riga City Council an item competent institutions declared a device of strategic significance.

In accordance with Law on Circulation of Goods of Strategic Significance, private persons are not allowed to purchase, store and use goods of strategic significance. Breach of Law on Circulation of Goods of Strategic Significance carries criminal liability.

KNAB refrained from providing more detailed information about the device, whereas Ušakovs mentioned on his Facebook page that the item in question was «a home-made recording device». «As far as I can tell from the description, this is about a glued album fitted with a camera and microphone,» he explained. He also added that the presence of the device in his office surprised him.

As previously reported, KNAB has commenced a criminal process in relation to three specific procurements organized by public transport company Rīgas satiksme: the 2016 low-floor tram procurement worth EUR 62 597 477; the 2013 trolleybus procurement worth EUR 131 646 135; and the 2013 bus procurement worth EUR 75 808 297.

The criminal process investigates possible bribery of officials and money laundering.

In December 2018, Riga City Vidzeme Suburb Court applied arrest as security measure to six out of seven suspects. These are Honour to Serve Riga member and businessman Aleksandrs Krjačeks, Rīgas satiksme Infrastructure and Development Department Director Igors Volkinšteins, ex-chairman of Rīgas satiksme Leons Bemhens, Škoda Transportation official Vladislavs Kozaks, businessman Māris Martinsons and businessman Edgars Teterovskis.

Teterovskis’ wife, who was a board member in the now liquidated Tram Servis Riga (owned by Kozaks), Elīna Kokina was initially applied with a security measure not associated with deprivation of freedom.

Aleksandrs Krjačeks was released a week after his detainment. Bemhens was released in February for bail money of EUR 200 000. Volkinšteins was released on bail for EUR 100 000 and Teterovskis was released on bail for EUR 70 000. Martinsons was released on bail at the beginning of April for EUR 500 000, whereas Kozaks was released 26 April without the need for bail money.

According to what KNAB said about Rīgas satiksme criminal process in the past, it was initiated in regards to representatives of Czech and Polish companies performing illegal activities in cooperation with officials from Rīgas satiksme and Riga City Council. These people were engaged in money laundering activities. They ensured an influx of money using actual and fictive companies. Bribes were paid to Riga City Council and Rīgas satiksme officials in the three aforementioned procurements.

KNAB also notes that bribes consisted of interests from the total worth of contracts detailed in the criminal process. KNAB investigators continue work to determine the size of bribes. KNAB also refrains from commenting on any statuses applied to Riga City Council officials.

Nekā personīga investigative programme reported that for every trolleybus, bus and tram supplied to Riga the paid bribe reached 5-7% of their worth. The total value of the three procurements together exceeds EUR 270 million. This means the paid bribes reach EUR 13.5-20 million.


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