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Ceturtdiena 09.04.2020 | Name days: Valērija, Žubīte
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Justice Minister suspects «high level» cover of illegal cigarette business

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Jānis Bordāns, contraband, cigarettes, mafia, Riga, marketLaw enforcers’ failure to put a stop to circulation of illegal circulates raises suspicions about «high level» cover of this criminal activity, said Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns in an interview to LTV programme Rīta panorama.

Bordāns says Riga Central Market is located next to one of the biggest police departments in the capital city, but this is no problem for dishonest traders to continue selling illegal cigarettes at the market for years, which suggests there may be high-level cover of this illegal business. The minister admits that he cannot mention any names but he nonetheless has a feeling of high-level cover.

The justice minister voiced a considerable degree of disappointment with what Interior Affairs Minister Sandis Ģirģens said – that it is possible to combat illegal circulation of cigarettes with changes in the penalty policy, where part of the responsibility would fall on the shoulders of Justice Ministry. Bordāns believes the problem is with effective applications of the law. He wished the interior affairs minister would tackle actually fighting crime instead.

Read also: Revelation of Riga Central Market’s «cigarette mafia» prompts thoughts about penalty changes

The minister said the penalty policy in this case is not under Justice Ministry’s direct responsibility. Additionally, penalties alone cannot resolve the problem. This means, according to the minister, driving problem-solving in this direction can be considered misleading.

According to Bordāns, focusing on catching illegal cigarette traders will not bring tangible results, because the priority is combating cigarette contraband and illegal cigarette production in Latvia as a whole. As long as contraband exists, the situation will remain unresolved, added the politician.

As for one of the initiatives from Interior Affairs Ministry – applying community service for illegal cigarette trading – Bordāns said this is but one and not the best solution, because there are other more effective methods.


Leave a reply to Zerry

  1. Zerry says:

    Most likely so. I have seen myself how in-competent and distorting the State Police is sometimes.

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