bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Friday 03.04.2020 | Name days: Daira, Dairis
LatviaLatvia

Lawyer: Rimšēvičs as member of ECB Council has immunity from criminal proceedings

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

The accused: Bank of Latvia governor Ilmārs Rimšēvičs (L) and businessman Māris Martinsons (R)

Mārtiņš Kvēps, lawyer of the corruption-accused governor of Bank of Latvia Ilmārs Rimšēvičs, believes, as a member of the European Central Bank, his client has immunity from criminal proceedings, criminal prosecution and criminal charges. This is why on Monday, 4 November, Rimšēvičs’ defender decided to ask Riga District Court in Jurmala to turn to the European Court of Justice so that it can make a pre-judicial decision on this matter.

Kvēps justified his request by saying that in accordance with his client’s immunity, it is not possible to raise charges for actions related to his post in ECB. According to the defence, if the office of the prosecutor wants to raise charges against Rimšēvičs for such activities, they have to turn to the ECB with a request to revoke Rimšēvičs’ immunity. Kvēps also referenced reports from European Union Court of Justice advocate general in the case in which Rimšēvičs was restored in his post as governor of the Bank of Latvia. Kvēps interpreted the words of the advocate general as it was not possible to raise charges against Rimšēvičs,

Prosecutor Viorika Jirgena noted that the matter on the expansion of the term of immunity should not be asked to the European Court of Justice, because the moment the initial case was decided, the court has been able to evaluate any violations of Rimšēvičs’ criminal procedural rights, but this was not done.

Rimšēvičs voiced certainty at the beginning of the court hearing that the process itself will be transparent and quick, but his defender Māris Mezītis submitted a request to the court to view the case behind closed doors, saying that materials of the case contain sensitive information associated with operations of different commercial banks in Latvia, as well as answers provided by ECB to questions asked during the pre-trial process and provided with top secrecy.

The prosecutor presiding over the case decided to object the defence’s request, saying that she sees no reason to view the case behind closed doors.

Other lawyers told the court that by viewing the case in an open court process there is a risk of breaching the rights of commercial banks, because materials of the case contain reports on operations, which means this information is considered commercial secret. Other lawyers agreed it is necessary to halt the litigation in order to request European Union Court of Justice to provide its pre-judicial decision.

Rimšēvičs also told the court that his client is not using immunity as member of ECB Council to avoid responsibility. Instead, he said it is sort of filter against unjustified accusations. He also said the case would benefit from another high-ranking opinion.

Riga District Court will have to decide on submitter requests.

On Tuesday, 4 November, Rimšēvičs told journalists prior to the court session that he denies all guilt in the crimes he is accused of. He added that he hopes the case will be reviewed quickly.

«I am very happy the court session can begin today. I think it is very important to ensure the process is quick and fair. I don’t think I should add that I completely deny all accusations,» he said prior to the session.

As previously reported, Riga District Court in Jurmala commenced the viewing of the criminal case in which Rimšēvičs and businessman Māris Martinsons are accused of corruption. The case is viewed by Judge Gundega Lapiņa.

As previously reported, the case was initially sent to Riga City Vidzeme Suburb Court because, according to the prosecution, the crime was committed in Riga. However, the court decided to send the case to a court of justice in Jurmala, stating that the last crime detailed in the case was committed in Jurmala.

Rimšēvičs is accused of two crimes: acceptance of a bribe (paid leisure trip) and acceptance of a monetary bribe. He is also accused of money laundering.

Martinsons is accused of two crimes: supporting bribe offer and supporting bribe-taking. Like Rimšēvičs, he is also accused of money laundering.

The criminal case also details a process against some company for application of coercive measures.

On 24 May, Prosecutor Jirgena made a new decision, amending and expanding charges against both of the accused. On top of the aforementioned charges, the two are also accused of laundering EUR 250 000 of illegally obtained funds.

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

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.

One of the forms of assistance Rimšēvičs had provided included preparing answers to FCMC questions in relation to liquidity and non-resident affairs.

Jirgena also explained that Rimšēvičs failed to complete requests so he was paid only part of the money – EUR 250 000. According to the prosecutor, Martinsons was a mediator in this crime – he received 10% of the bribe amount. The prosecutor adds that bribery was performed using cash.


Leave a reply

COVID-19 prompts Latvian government to involve army in border patrol with Belarus

Latvian Defence Minister Artis Pabriks has issued an order for Latvian National Armed Forces (NBS) to provide support to the State Border Guard by sending national guardsmen to organize additional patrolling of the Latvian-Belarusian border, as confirmed by the minister.

Lithuania puts COVID-19-related prosecution above human rights

What should come first in a time of emergency like the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? Obviously, order, but what about human rights?

Idleness rules will apply to companies with tax debts in Latvia

The idleness regulations in Latvia will apply to companies with tax debts, as provided by amendments to Latvian government rules approved on Thursday, 2 April, to rules on companies affected by COVID-19 and who qualify for idleness support and other benefits.

Court to enforce nearly 12 000 euros from Gobzems for defaming Bunkus family

Riga City Vidzeme Suburb Court has partially satisfied the plea from the surviving members of the family of the murdered lawyer Mārtiņš Bunkus against Saeima deputy Aldis Gobzems over defamation. The court has decided to enforce EUR 11 833 from him, as confirmed from the deputy.

Spain registers unprecedented job loss as lethal cases of COVID-19 exceed 10 000

In Spain, nearly 900,000 jobs have been lost since mid-March during strict measures to fight the coronavirus. 10,000 Spaniards have died from the virus disease, BBC reports.

Emīls Jakrins becomes board chairman of restaurant business company Vincents

Ex-Riga City Council’s Transport Department’s head Emīls Jakrins has become board chairman of architecture, design and restaurant business company LLC Vincents, according to information from Firmas.lv.

Jānis Vitenbergs approved in Latvia’s Economy Minister's post

On Thursday, 2 April, Latvia’s Saeima approved parliamentarian Jānis Vitenbergs as the country’s economy minister.

Large mine closes in Estonia after one of 800 miners tested positive for COVID-19

In Estonia, it has been decided to close one of two large oil shale mines after one miner tested positive for COVID-19, Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports.

COVID-19 update in Baltics. 458 cases in Latvia, 649 in Lithuania, 858 in Estonia

The number of confirmed COVID-19 infection cases in Latvia has reached 458, growing by 12 cases in the past day. Meanwhile, Lithuanian media report 649 confirmed coronavirus infection cases.

Germany to keep gathering restrictions past Easter

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that the situation with the outbreak of COVID-19 in Germany is far from being over as the government extended its strict rules for gathering in public places until April 19, DW reports.

Shuttle buses and express buses on hold in Riga

LLC Rīgas mikroautobusu satiksme has decided to shut down shuttle bus services on all routes in Riga until the state of emergency in Latvia is over, as confirmed by RMS.

Latvian government to finance COVID-19 crisis prevention efforts from state budget

Efforts to overcome the direct negative effects from COVID-10 crisis will be financed from the state budget. After the crisis, however, the economy will be stimulated using EU funds, as decided by Finance Minister Jānis Reirs’ led work group for support of entrepreneurship and the employed on Wednesday, 1 April.

EU planning lending programme to support temporary work schemes

EU member states would guarantee the creation of a fund up to 100 billion euros aimed at providing loans to governments to support workers in countries hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission plans, according to EurActiv.

Minister: repatriation efforts may be restarted mid-April

Repatriation efforts may be restarted in the middle of April, said Latvia’s Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits on 1 April at a conference of Latvian municipalities on public transport and traffic during a state of emergency.

Saeima committee supports writing off debts left from 2008 crisis

On Wednesday, 1 April, Latvian Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee conceptually supported during a remote meeting the proposal to allow credit institutions to one-sidedly write off debts for mortgage loans taken prior to the 2008 economic crisis, as reported by Saeima press-service.

Belarus introduces ban on buckwheat exports

Belarusian government has prohibited temporarily the export of buckwheat and other staple foods, state news agency BelTA reported.

Moscow tests app for tracking infected people required to self-isolate

In Moscow, where a lockdown has been in place since the beginning of the week, a new smartphone app is being developed and tested aimed at ensuring that patients with mild symptoms adhere to their contract of self-isolation, Russian state news agency TASS reports.

Multiple of Nature Protection Office’s duties delegated to the State Environment Service

Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry issued an order on 30 March to delegate multiple duties of the Nature Protection Office to the State Environment Service, according to information from LETA.

Latvian State Employment Agency received notifications for numerous planned lay-offs

Latvia’s State Employment Agency has received notification about planned lay-offs of 3 258 employees of 19 companies.

1 April onward entry to Jurmala by car will not be allowed without paying 2 euro fee

Wednesday, 1 April, marks the beginning of the the season when entry to Jurmala by car will require a 2 euro fee, as reported by Jurmala City Council.

Estonia looking at mass tests’ option to determine latency of COVID-19

The Estonian government has set itself the goal of mass tests of COVID-19 in the society, its Foreign Minister has revealed as the worst-hit Baltic country is looking at ways to overcome the outbreak, Estonian public broadcaster reports.

COVID-19 update in Baltic. 446 in Latvia, 581 in Lithuania, 779 in Estonia

The number of confirmed COVID-19 infection cases in Latvia has reached 446. Meanwhile, Lithuanian media report 581 cases.

Countries rush to support production of lung ventilators, essential amid pandemic

Governments and medical institutions in the world seek to acquire many lung ventilators that can save lives in severe cases of the COVID-19 disease. France and Israel have made recent announcements in this respect, German public broadcaster DW reports.

Public catering companies to adopt new hygiene requirements as of 1 April

Latvia’s Agriculture Ministry has expanded requirements for public catering and retail trade companies, BNN was told by the ministry.

At least 26 healthcare workers in Latvia confirmed infected with COVID-19

At least 26 healthcare workers in Latvia have been infected with COVID-19, according to information reported by the Disease Prevention and Monitoring Centre expert Jurijs Perevoščikovs.


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