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Friday 06.12.2019 | Name days: Niklāvs, Niks, Nikolajs
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Judge chosen to preside over Bank of Latvia governor’s criminal case resigns

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RURiga District Court judge Inese Bieteniece, who was chosen to preside over the criminal case involving Bank of Latvia governor Ilmārs Rimšēvičs and businessman Māris Martinsons, has submitted her resignation to Latvia’s Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns, asking to be relieved of duty, as confirmed by Court Administration representative Ināra Makārova.

She says the judge has been on sick leave since mid-September. This is why Riga District Court chairperson Inese Siliņeviča has no information regarding the reasons for the judge’s decision to leave.

The court’s chairperson has commenced the procedure of handing approximately 30 criminal cases Biteniece has been working on prior to her sick leave to other judges. This includes the criminal case involving Ilmārs Rimšēvičs and Māris Martinsons.

It is already known that the electronic system has handed this case to judge Gundega Lapiņa.

Siliņeviča has noted that it is not yet known if it is possible to maintain the same dates for every criminal case in question.

Initially it was planned to view Rimšēvičs’ criminal case 4 November 2019.

Read also: Informal talks commence about Bank of Latvia governor’s possible successor

The case was initially submitted to Riga City Vidzeme Suburb Court because, according to the prosecution, the crime detailed in the case was committed in Riga. However, the court later decided to send the case to a court in Jurmala, because the last criminal offense detailed in the case was committed in Jurmala.

Siliņeviča had previously explained that the case ended up at Riga District Court, but, considering that there was only one judge at the time when Jurmala Court sent the case back to Riga District Court, as others were away on vacation, it was not possible to assign the case to a random judge. This is how judge Inese Biteniece ended up presiding over it.

Office of the Prosecutor press-secretary Laura Majevska had previously reported that Rimšēvičs is accused of two crimes: accepting a bribe in the form of a paid vacation and accepting a bribe in the form of money. He is also accused on money laundering.

Martinsons is accused supporting a bribe offer, supporting acceptance of a bribe, and money laundering.

As part of the criminal case submitted to court a judicial process has been launched against some company for enforcement of coercive measures.

On 24 May 2019 prosecutor Jirgena made the decision to amend and expand charges against Rimšēvičs and Martinsons – on top of existing charges, the two are also accused of laundering EUR 250 000 of illegally obtained funds.

The Office of the Prosecutor General believes Rimšēvičs had used the EUR 250 000 bribe to acquire real estate on behalf of some company, and the governor of the Bank of Latvia later became a co-owner of said real estate. A judicial process has also been launched against this company for enforcement of coercive measures, because money laundering was performed on behalf of this legal person. The Office of the Prosecutor does not reveal the name of this company, but public broadcaster TV3 programme Nekā personīga had previously reported that the expanded charges are related to the business deal in which Martinsons’ owned MM Investīcijas had purchased real estate in Jurmala, Baznīcas Street 2.

Prosecutor Jirgena informed journalists in summer 2018 that Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) commenced this case following a request from two shareholders of the now liquidated Trasta Komercbanka. The two shareholders are bribe-givers in the criminal case, but they have been relieved of criminal liability because they had voluntarily reported the crime to authorities.


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