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Wednesday 16.01.2019 | Name days: Lida, Lidija
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Latvian minister confirms interrogation by Lithuanian investigators

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIn the case regarding possible corruption in the National Blood Centre, Lithuanian services have interrogated Latvia’s Healthcare Minister Anda Čakša, as confirmed by the official.

Čakša explains that the interrogation was associated with on ongoing investigation in Lithuania. «Authorities of the neighouring country are surveying the situation. They have begun interviewing Latvia’s side as well,» she says.

According to her, representatives of Latvian and Lithuanian services were present at the interrogation. «I know that both countries have very good cooperation when it comes to investigating corruption cases […],» said the minister.

Čakša says her interrogation is associated with the fact that Latvia’s Blood Donors Centre is under her direct supervision.

She says she does not know who was in charge of the centre during the period of time investigated by Lithuanian services.

The minister also said all requested documents were provided to Lithuanian authorities. No searches have been performed.

At the same time, she says Latvia does not see anything odd with blood plasma collection. According to her, the State Blood Donors Centre has done a lot to ensure blood collection, plasma preparation and other processes are as transparent as possible.

The minister refused to provide more detailed comments on the interrogation.

Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has confirmed that it is not the side responsible for the process. With that, CPCB has no authority to comment on investigative activities performed by Lithuanian Special Investigation Service. CPCB did provide support to neighbouring country’s service.

In addition, CPCB has confirmed that no criminal process has been launched in relation to any possible corruptive activities associated with blood plasma collection committed by Healthcare Ministry and State Blood Donors Centre.

As it is known, Lithuanian Special Investigation Service, which is responsible for the pre-trial investigation of the possible corruption at the National BloodCentre, has announced plans to perform procedural activities in Latvia next week.

Lithuanian investigators have interrogated Latvia’s Healthcare Minister and workers of the State Blood Donors Centre as witnesses.

As noted in Lithuanian Special Investigation Service’s released statement, there are justified suspicions to assume former Lithuanian Blood Centre’s manager Joana Bikulčiene, Solis Tribus shareholder Antans Petrošus and manager Rūta Stankevičiene had worked as a group in order to take over and monopolize blood plasma collection in Lithuania and Latvia. There are three suspects in the pre-trial case.

In April, Bikulčiene decided to step down from her post voluntarily. Shortly before then, she had been suspended for three months by the prosecutor’s office. At the beginning of the investigation she was put under arrest for two weeks. Later, however, the security measure was changed to house arrest.


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