Latviski English По-русски
Saturday 15.12.2018 | Name days: Jana, Johanna, Hanna

Nano-water scheme’s participant involved in another Rīgas satiksme criminal case

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIn October the prosecutor’s office submitted to court a criminal case in which four people are accused of defrauding EUR 800,000 from Rīgas satiksme in different washing chemical procurements in 2013 and 2014. However, investigators are still interested in the company – police suspect the company of foul play in procurements.

A new criminal process has been launched, as reported by TV3 programme Nekā personīga. According to the programme, one of the two people involved in the case is Vjačeslavs Stunžāns. The ex-RS employee was a key person in the infamous nano-water scandal. In 2015, when it was revealed that regular water was supplied to RS instead of the promised chemicals, it became clear this scheme took place thanks to the company’s flawed procurement system. Neither the management of RS nor its shareholder Nils Ušakovs wanted to admit the problems and change the procurement order.

Police visited RS offices on Vestienas Street and Imanta Bus Park at the beginning of October. Investigators searched for proof in a criminal case regarding major fraud. Police suspect RS may have experienced illegalities during procurements of bus and trolleybus washing substances again. The damages caused to the state reach EUR 100,000.

«A criminal process was separated from the so-called none-water case in May. This was done because new conditions were uncovered during the investigation. This case is also connected to the washing substances supply contracts, but only with different conditions,» said deputy chief of State Police Economic Crimes Enforcement Department Ilze Sokolovska.

In the first criminal case, the company paid for washing substances that were never delivered. According to information from the programme, police has started investigating possible rigged procurements – when a specific company wins and supplies goods for inflated prices.

There are no suspects at the moment. Nevertheless, there are two people involved in the process with the status of persons eligible for defence. The programme is aware that one of them is former RS employee Vjačeslavs Stunžāns. He and three others are the accused in the nano-water criminal case. Stunžāns remained an employee of RS until December 2017. Investigators do not reveal what his role could have been in procurements.

Stunžāns was one of the key figures in the scheme involving so-called nano-water cleaning substances, which was revealed at the beginning of 2015. RS had hired a company that did not have the promised goods on hand. What was supplied turned out to be regular water. To hide this fact, organizers forged documents and labels. The scheme came to light when one of the participants decided to request State Revenue Service to repay VAT. SRS, however, found that no business deals had even taken place. In the two years this scheme was active, RS suffered losses worth EUR 834,000.

This kind of scheme would not have been possible if RS had a functional procurement system. The company does not organize open procurements. Instead, heads of the company’s offices pick three firms that submit offers to RS procurements commission. The commission does not look into procurements all that much and usually picks a winner based on some criteria. Problems with this system have existed since 2015. For whatever reason, however, RS has not changed a thing. Now this system has attracted the attention of a prosecutor, the programme reports.

«After going through the company’s internal workings a conclusion was made that there is no compliance with good management principles, jurisdiction of European Court of Justice and Latvian court of law. This is why a decision has been made to issue a warning to the company and set a term in which the company is to fix its internal order,» said prosecutor Dainis Šteinbergs.

RS was expected to have done that by the end of October. But RS has performed only insignificant improvements. For example, RS now has to check if applicant companies have any tax debts and if it is still on the list of VAT payers.

RS believes everything is fine with the procurements organized until now. Nevertheless, fraud cases are also sometimes found in strictly regulated procurements, as well. Long after the nano-water scandal RS claimed there was no fraud. An internal investigation revealed no signs of violations. The company still has not applied for a compensation of the lost EUR 800,000 from the accused. Problems in the company go largely ignored by the Mayor of Riga Nils Ušakovs.

«First of all, in this situation it is necessary to look at every case individually. As for the warning – it has been accepted. Regarding what happened a couple of weeks before elections, it is hard for me to comment if there had been any violations and what it was all about. We will wait for statements from police. We cannot say if one crime or another had taken place there, nor can we say anything for certain without a ruling from a court of law. I cannot comment or evaluate such categories, but it is clear that every time a procurement is organized it is supervised by authorities. Experience shows that nearly every procurement is appealed in the end. This is the way it is for us and every other industry. Every procurement is checked with assistance from the Procurement Monitoring Bureau. With that, it is unlikely there aren’t many systemic problems,» he comments.

Leave a reply

Experts: fiscal consolidation is unavoidable next year

The new government will have to perform fiscal consolidation when compiling the state budget for 2019. This opinion was sent to the Saeima and Cabinet of Ministers by the Fiscal Discipline Council in relation to the 13th Saeima’s approval of amendments for the Healthcare Law that provide for a 20% wage increase for doctors starting next.

Ventspils opposition: the Constitution stands above municipality’s opinions on city governance

«For us to work to our full capacity, we require information and stay in the loop. If the work of the city council was organized during meetings of the city council and committees, we would have this opportunity. But because the work of the city council is put under other institutions – committees, in this case – and we [majority of opposition deputies] are not allowed to participate in those meetings and receive documents, this means our rights as deputies and voters are being limited. This, we believe, is the most important aspect to be breached,» said Ventspils City Council opposition deputy Aivis Landmanis said during a hearing of the Administrative Court in Liepaja in regards to Ventspils City Council’s refusal to adopt proportionality principles in committees and other structures.

EU offers Britons clarification, but no renegotiation of Brexit deal

European Union member state leaders and the blocs top officials have stated at a summit with British Prime Minister Theresa May, that the Brexit withdrawal agreement that lacks clear support in UK parliament was not open for renegotiation.

Estonia raises minimum wage

The minimum monthly wage in Estonia has been approved at the level of 540 euros, which is an increase from 500 euros.

This year e-signature was used to sign more than 5.7 million documents in Latvia

This year, e-signature was used more than half a million times a month in Latvia. A total of 5.7 million documents have been signed using this function in Latvia so far. More than 25,000 now use e-signature function on their smart-phones.

Trump distances himself from crimes committed by his lawyer

Reacting to the conviction of American lawyer Michael Cohen over campaign funding violations, U.S. President Donald Trump has distanced himself from the lawyer and accused him of attempts to embarrass Trump.

New Unity starts consultations with parties on forming government with Kariņš in charge

New Unity will insist on getting Finance Ministry in the new government, because it is only logical to have this ministry managed by the prime minister’s party, says NU representative and Saeima deputy Ojārs Ēriks Kalniņš.

Strasbourg terrorist «neutralised» after opening fire on police

The attacker suspected of killing two people and injuring 12 more people at a Strasbourg Christmas market has been shot dead by French police.

Next week in Latvia to start off with snowfall

The end of the week is not expected to have any major weather changes in Latvia, whereas next week will start off with snowfall and gradual decline of air temperature, promises Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Court arrests Harmony sponsor and Honour to Serve Riga party member

Riga City Vidzeme District Court issued an arrest to businessman Aleksandrs Krjačeks on Thurday, 13 December. He was previously detained by Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau in the criminal case regarding procurements organized by SIA Rīgas satiksme, as confirmed by the man’s lawyer Valdis Ulmanis.

Saeima: increase of doctors’ wages should be a government priority

When preparing the budget plan for the next three years, the government should allocate money for the 20% increase of doctors’ wages. This is provided by changes to Healthcare Financing Law, approved by the Saeima in two readings on Thursday, 13 December.

airBaltic to perform more flights between Riga and Liepaja

During a visit today in Liepaja CEO of Latvian airline airBaltic Martin Gauss announced that airBaltic will increase the number of domestic flights between Riga and Liepaja from three to five weekly as of summer season 2019.

Court arrests Škoda commercial director; CPCB request arrests for two more people

Latvian court has arrested Škoda commercial director Vladislav Kozak following a request from Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau in relation to the criminal case regarding procurements performed by Rīgas satiksme.

EY: investments in crypto currency offers have largely failed

86% of 141 initial crypto currency offers presented last year have lost value over the course of the first eight months of this year. Additionally 30% of them have lost nearly all of their value, according to Initial Coin Offerings study by EY.

Estonian criminal figure convicted in Ireland

A court in Ireland has convicted Estonian criminal figure Imre Arakas, finding him guilting of conspiracy to murder.

As income increase, housing becomes more accessible in all Baltic capitals

Housing Accessibility Index improved in all Baltic capitals in Q3 2018. The main factor for this was the growth of average net salaries. Additionally, beneficial economic development also improved households’ interest for housing acquisition, which was reflected both in increased activity on the apartment market and household loan portfolio growth.

Lithuanian PM suspects Kremlin-backed opposition behind teacher attacks

The nearer municipal council, presidential and EP elections, the more sparkles Lithuania’s political leadership spews out. With the linguistic weaponry exhausted in the Seimas, the party leaders seek help from intelligence services.

EP proposes stricter monitoring of militants returning to Europe to combat terrorism better

The European Parliament has presented proposals for better measures against radicalization, better data exchange and support of victims of terrorism, as well as several other proposals for European Union’s strategy for terrorism prevention.

Latvian media organizations found Media Ethics Council

On Wednesday, 12 December, Latvian Media Ethics Council was founded. It is a public organization meant to unite media organizations and legal persons associated with the media sector and supervise compliance with the council’s statutes and code of ethics, the council explains.

U.S. President's former lawyer sentenced to prison

The former personal attorney of U.S. President Donald Trump has been handed a prison sentence for violations of the rules of election campaign. A New York court has sentenced Michael Cohen to three years in federal prison.

Latvian parties hear New Unity leader’s offer; opinions on coalition still differ

Political parties in Latvia are prepared to listen to New Unity and its prime minister candidate Krišjāņis Kariņš’s initiative in the government formation process.

British PM stays after no-confidence vote, attends EU summit

British Prime Minister Theresa May has survived a no-confidence vote in her ruling Conservative Party and on Thursday attends a summit of the European Union.

European Parliament ratifies EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement

On Wednesday, 12 December, gave green light for EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, which is EU’s all-time largest mutual trade agreement.

Businessman Māris Martinsons brought to court. What will the court decide?

Businessman Māris Martinsons has been brought to testify in court. As it is known, he was detained by Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau on 11 December.

Employers become more open to 3rd level pension contributions

Employers in Latvia have begun making more active contributions to 3rd level pension plans. Residents’ interest towards crating pension savings continues growing, too. Compared to the period of last year, the size of contributions to private pension funds has increased 10% in the first nine months of 2018.

Newest comments