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Monday 30.03.2020 | Name days: Nanija, Ilgmārs, Igmārs

Nekā personīga: Strods may have leaked information about LVC tenders

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From the left: Armands Garkāns and Edgars Strods

The ex-board member of road maintenance company Latvijas Valsts ceļi (LVC) Edgars Strods was detained for possible leaking of information about LVC tenders to Armands Garkāns’ companies, as reported by public broadcaster TV3 programme Nekā personīga.

Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) detained Strods and businessman Armands Zeihmanis, who is also involved in Daimler bribery case, at the beginning of October.

200 to 300 million euros are invested in road construction and restoration in Latvia every year, and this money is divided by LVC. Nekā personīga reports that investigators suspect Strods of possibly abusing his position and leaking information about LVC planned tenders in 2017 and 2018. While in his post in LVC board, Strods was responsible for construction office, which also governed the tenders department.

Nekā personīga is aware that investigators are interested in the road electrification tender. LVC was desperate to sign a contract with Reck in spite of its offered price being two and a half times higher than LVC’s goal, the programme reports. The company offered doing the job for EUR 8.5 million, whereas LVC had initially intended to spend no more than EUR 3.6 million.

The company that lost in the tender, Lithuanian company Fima, had initially turned to the Procurement Monitoring Bureau but later decided to withdraw the complaint when it won LVC tender for Via Baltia project, in which Reck withdrew its complaint, as reported by journalists.

It was revealed during the dispute that, prior to this LVC tender, competitors, owners of Fima, were visited by Reck project leader, ex-Mayor of Kandava from the Union of Greens and Farmers Rolands Bārenis. Reck does not deny that Bārenis had spoken with competitors, but still denied discussing safe victories, the programme reports.

Zeihmanis and Reck are tied together by one man – businessman Armands Garkāns, who had visited KNAB not long ago in relation to the construction cartel case.

Garkāns is one of the owners of Reck. Zeihmanis and his family members, on the other hand, had worked in many different companies in which Garkāns is the beneficial owner, as reported by Nekā personīga. One such company is SIA A7 Betons, which has the same address as road construction company Binders, where Garkāns is an owner.

Until now Binders has won in many of LVC tenders. In 2018, it received orders worth EUR 29 million. Together with A.C.B., the company received orders worth EUR 38 million. Nekā personīga notes that this is three to four times more than the next biggest tender winner – Igate.

Read also: Exclusive | Competition Council’s chief on construction cartel; society needs to see the guilty pay the price

In a conversation with Nekā personīga, Binders denied KNAB having any interest about the company in relation to any criminal case.

Importantly, Binders, along with A.C.B., is among the candidates, who have applied to take part in the call for tenders to carry out the Public and private partnership project (PPP) of the Ķekava roundabout. The candidates and their reputation are under evaluation by the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Keywords: LVC Strods topical

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  1. Zerry says:

    KNAB as well as journalists are doing good work but the problem in Latvia is that nothing happens after that.

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