bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Saturday 29.02.2020 | Name days:
LatviaLatvia

Former head of Riga Central Market accused of extorting bribes

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUA third criminal process has been launched against the former head of Riga Central Market Anatolijs Abramovs. This time he is accused of bribe-extortion from a market tenant. In exchange for bribes, their contract would not be terminated unexpectedly.

De Facto programme of LTV has found out that State Police suspect the former market worker Aivo Bruģis of similar crimes. He became an employee shortly after Abramovs became the market’s manager.

Five years ago Abramovs was in charge of Riga Central Market. He was appointed to this post by Mayor of Riga Nils Ušakovs without holding a personnel selection process. Abramovs stepped down with not one but several scandals at his back – after he was presented with a restriction to perform his duties, a new post was created just for him. A month later, once again as the accused, Abramovs was arrested by Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau, De Facto reports.

The charges detailed in a total of three separate criminal cases do not paint a pretty picture for Abramovs and several other market employees, considering the sheer scale of corruption uncovered at the market.

De Facto reminds that a documentary was released about Riga Central Market in 2015. In it, Anatolijs Abramovs was praised as a great manager. Abramovs was applied with a prohibition to perform his duties and manager of the central market that year. A new post was later created just for him: advisor to the management board for strategic projects. Abramovs even managed to keep his post after the first official charges were raised against him in May 2016.

Now Abramovs has become the accused in a third criminal process – extortion and acceptance of a bribe. It was during this particular case’s investigation that Abramovs was arrested right in the middle of Riga Central Market, LTV reports.

No information about the case was previously available until now. De Facto found out that the two previous criminal processes launched against Abramovs have nothing in common: neither the victory of Dezinfa in the market’s procurement for disinfection and pest control service, nor the embezzlement of funds for trade spots at the night market.

According to the official charges, Abramovs had extorted a bribe from SIA Cerebriti board member and owner Mārtiņš Vadžs. The ‘fee’ was fixed – 1,100 euro a month. In four sweeps – twice in the office of the market’s administration and twice in a café located in one of the pavilions – Abramovs collected 8,800 euro, the programme reports.

‘This bribe was ‘an option to avoid trouble’, because Riga Central Market can terminate contracts whenever it wants. To make sure Riga Central Market administration looked the other way and to just do business without complications, businessmen and traders paid the ‘politely requested fee’ on time,’ explains prosecutor Viktorija Šumska.

Abramovs denies his guilt, but offers no explanations as to why he was given cash from Vadžs that one time in the pavilion. «There are conditions, arguments, assumptions and testimonies, as well as explanations – everything can be found in materials of the case. I say this again: someone wants me to start positioning my defence. No, I will not. No, no, no. It is already sensitive enough – the entire process.»

Prosecutor Šumska, on the other hand, reveals how the situation was explained to her by Abramovs: «He was caught with last portion [money] that day. His explanation – he did not know it was money. Something, he said, was passed under the desk. He claims he thought it was some document, so he put it in his pocket without thinking. As to what all this means – it is now for the court to decide».

The programme also mentions that Abramovs had announced during the first court session that was not ready to listen to witnesses and their testimonies. He defends himself in all three criminal cases. Because of that, he says he has not had the time to go through all materials. Because of that, Vadzis will have t give his testimony in May. He refused to give an interview before testifying.

De Facto mentions that Vitalijs Litvins – former manager of Riga Central Market’s trade organization department – has decided to stay silent as well. He is a witness in the criminal case. However, in the so-called night market case he, Abramovs and three other night market supervisors are accused of embezzlement in large amounts. Both officials are accused of abuse of power.

«A group was organized – with people on top and night market supervisors on the field – collecting money for trade spots. Money was collected from people who came to sell off products, not the ones with whom the market has contracts signed. Without any receipts given in exchange, the money did not go to the cash register, as it should have. Instead that money was taken by those on top and the night market supervisors,» prosecutor Šumska explains.

A criminal process has been launched against one of Abramov’s former colleagues – Aivo Bruģis. «We are acquainted, I will not deny that. A well-known person. With that, this came as a shock,» Abramovs said about his former colleague.

Bruģis is not a state official, so the case is investigated by State Police. He is suspected of illegal requesting and accepting monetary benefits, not bribery as a whole. Police do not comment on the process, but De Facto has managed to find out that Bruģis has been considered the ‘beneficial protector’ by traders for some time. This fact is not denied by the new head of the central market and Saeima deputy Andris Morozovs from Harmony: «There were suspicions about the head of the trade department, but there were no solid facts. People were either intimidated into staying silent or had simply gotten used to how things are done. Few believed in law enforcers’ integrity and honesty. This is why it took so long for information to surface.»

Since autumn 2017 Riga Central Market has been managed by Artis Druvinieks, who was selected through a selection process.


Leave a reply

Gints Miķelsons put in charge of Latvian Construction Contractors Partnership

From 1 March 2020 onward Gints Miķelsons, who has been the head of Latvian Sustainable Construction Council will be in charge of the Latvian Construction Contractors Partnership, as confirmed by construction contractors.

While Latvia’s GDP grows 2.2%, other Baltic States experience more rapid growth

In 2019, Latvia experienced the slowest GDP growth among Baltic States, according to data from Latvia’s Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.

Latvia’s GDP growth reportedly 2.2% in 2019

Compared to 2018, the economic growth continued and Gross Domestic Product increased by 2.2 %. In 2019, GDP at current prices amounted to EUR 30.5 billion. Compared to Q3, in Q4 2019 GDP at constant prices grew by 0.1 %, according to seasonally and calendar adjusted data.

Retail trade turnover in Latvia up 2.6% in January

Compared to January 2019, total retail trade turnover rose by 2.6 % in January 2020. Turnover of retail trade in food products grew by 4.4 %.

Vilnis Ķirsis to remain in charge of Unity’s faction in Riga

On Thursday, 27 February, Vilnis Ķirsis was once again picked as the head of Unity party’s faction in Riga, as confirmed by the party.

Latvia and USA sign joint declaration to enhance 5G network security

On Thursday, 27 February, Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sign a joint US-Latvian declaration on 5G network security, as reported by Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Estonian Tallink Grupp sees profit growth of EUR 9.7 million on year

Estonian provider of ferry transport and related services Tallink Grupp has worked in 2019 with a net profit of 49.7 million euros, according to its unaudited financial results of the year, as reported by Estonian public broadcaster ERR.

Jakrins reportedly a beneficiary in a company that organizes Brasas and Deglava bridge repairs

Long-standing Riga City Council official Emīls Jakrins, who was in charge of the Transport Department not long ago, is beneficiary and factual owner of LLC TecPro Construction, which is a contractor to Lithuanian company Kauno tiltai, which has been hired by the city council to repair Brasas and Deglavas bridges, as reported by Diena newspaper, referencing unofficial information.

UK ready to switch to WTO trade rules if no EU by end of year

The British government has declared that unless concessions are made by Brussels in EU-UK talks on their future cooperation, the former EU member would trade with the bloc on WTO rules from 2021, British news portal The Guardian reports.

Residents able to submit compulsory income declarations by 1 June; VID urges using EDS

March 2020 will mark the beginning of the three-month period within which all residents for whom it is compulsory will be able to submit their income declaration for 2019. This period will last three years for residents for whom this process is voluntary, as reminded by the State Revenue Service.

Lithuanian border guards start informing travellers about the situation with Covid-19

As the new coronavirus Covid-19 continues spreading in Europe, Lithuanian border guards have begun informing travellers from Latvia and Poland about necessary protective measures.

Turkish soldiers killed in Syria, in regime airstrike, Ankara says

In the current epicentre of the Syrian civil war, 33 soldiers of the NATO member state Turkey have been killed as Syrian government military aviation carried out attacks on Turkish military posts set up in its neighbouring country, German broadcaster DW reports citing Ankara.

Weather in Latvia to be winter-like at week’s end

Weather in Latvia is expected to be winter-like at the end of the week – air temperature is expected to drop below 0° C at night in most of the country. In some areas cold snap may be felt during the day, as reported by Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

First coronavirus infection case found in Lithuania

The first coronavirus infection case is confirmed in Lithuania, as mentioned in Lithuanian government’s statement released on Friday, 28 February, as reported by 15min.lt.

SPKC urges passengers of 26 February Istanbul-Riga flight to respond

Latvia’s Disease Control and Prevention Centre is looking for passengers who flew together with confirmed coronavirus patient from Istanbul to Riga on Wednesday, 26 February.

Regional hospitals in Latvia report high demand for protective clothing

Because of the outbreak of the new coronavirus Covid-19, demand has considerably increased for individual protective clothing, which forces prices to go up, as reported by heads of hospitals.

Rail Baltica not just marvelled, but cussed too in Lithuania

If implemented, the ambitious 5.8-billion euro Rail Baltica project aiming to build a nearly 1000-kilometer rail link from Helsinki to Poland through Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will be a major infrastructural achievement of the Baltics, but the possibility of dashing at the now surreal speed of 250 kilometres per hour as soon as in 2026, when the project is slated for completion, comes at expense of many land owners in Lithuania’s six municipalities, which will be crossed by the European-gauge tracks.

Construction costs in Latvia up 2.8% in January

Compared to December 2019, the level of construction costs in Latvia fell by 0.2 % in January 2020. Labour remuneration of workers reduced by 0.9 %, prices of building materials – by 0.1 %, but maintenance and operational costs of machinery and equipment – rose by 0.2 %.

In Greece, violent protests against new migrant camps continue for 3rd day

In Greece, continued protests and clashes have resulted in over 60 people suffering injuries as people on the islands of Lesbos and Chios protest against the construction of new migrant centres, British public broadcaster BBC reports.

Minister says Latvia’s initiated territorial reform will create more sustainable municipalities

The report from the European Commission mentions that Latvian government’s initiated administrative territorial reform will create more sustainable municipalities with greater capacity and ability to provide services of comparable quality, as reported by Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry.

Latvian Saeima changes the prosecutor general’s selection order

On Thursday, 27 February, Latvia’s Saeima approved amendments to the order under which the country’s prosecutor general is selected.

Textile producer in Lithuania complies with Greenpeace standards in industrial textile making

Lithuanian textiles producer Utenos Trikotažas has been deemed by environmental protection organisation Greenpeace as complying with the standards of the later as to not using hazardous chemicals and being fair and transparent in its business, LRT reports.

From March onward prices of alcoholic beverages to increase in Latvia

Through a measured and gradual increase of excise tax rate policy, starting with 1 March 2020 the excise tax rate for alcoholic beverages in Latvia will increase, as confirmed by the State Revenue Service.

435 whistle-blower reports received in eight months in Latvia

In the first year of the Whistleblowing Law, Latvian central state institutions have received 435 reports from whistle-blowers, as reported by the State Chancellery.

Estonia finds first positive coronavirus case

In Estonia, the first case of a person being infected with the novel coronavirus has been found, stated Estonian Social Affairs Minister Tanel Kiik on Thursday, February 27, as cited by Estonian public broadcaster ERR.


Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!