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Sunday 22.09.2019 | Name days: Maigurs, Mārica, Māris
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Riga’s ex-mayor to report to corruption watchdog about change of residence

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European Parliament member Nils Ušakovs

The suspect in the criminal case regarding several procurement projects of Riga municipality’s public transport company Rīgas satiksme, former mayor of Riga and newly-elected European Parliament member Nils Ušakovs has been applied with a security measure – the need to report change of residence to authorities, as confirmed by Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB).

The Criminal Process Law states that suspects in criminal cases are supposed to report change of residence to the investigator in writing within one work day, providing the investigator with the new address. BNN had previously reported that in this year’s European Parliament elections in Latvia, Nils Ušakovs and other politicians elected to represent Latvia have left for Belgium to participate in the work of European Parliament in Brussels.

KNAB confirmed that Ušakovs is a suspect in the criminal case for violating the section of the Criminal Law on circulation of goods of strategic significance. This crime is punishable with up to two years in prison, community service or fine, as well as the prohibition to take posts for a period of up to five years.

KNAB reminds that during investigative measures performed in Ušakovs’ office in Riga City Council, investigators found an audio recording device.

Ušakovs mentioned on his Facebook page that the item in question was «a home-made recording device». «As far as I can tell from the description, this is about a glued album fitted with a camera and microphone,» he explained. He also added that the presence of the device in his office surprised him.

As previously reported, KNAB has commenced a criminal process in relation to three specific procurements organized by public transport company Rīgas satiksme: the 2016 low-floor tram procurement worth EUR 62 597 477; the 2013 trolleybus procurement worth EUR 131 646 135; and the 2013 bus procurement worth EUR 75 808 297.

The criminal process investigates possible bribery of officials and money laundering.

In December 2018, Riga City Vidzeme Suburb Court applied arrest as security measure to six out of seven suspects. These are Honour to Serve Riga member and businessman Aleksandrs Krjačeks, Rīgas satiksme Infrastructure and Development Department Director Igors Volkinšteins, ex-chairman of Rīgas satiksme Leons Bemhens, Škoda Transportation official Vladislavs Kozaks, businessman Māris Martinsons and businessman Edgars Teterovskis.

Teterovskis’ wife, who was a board member in the now liquidated Tram Servis Riga (owned by Kozaks), Elīna Kokina was initially applied with a security measure not associated with deprivation of freedom.

Aleksandrs Krjačeks was released a week after his detainment. Bemhens was released in February for bail money of EUR 200 000. Volkinšteins was released on bail for EUR 100 000 and Teterovskis was released on bail for EUR 70 000. Martinsons was released on bail at the beginning of April for EUR 500 000, whereas Kozaks was released 26 April without the need for bail money.

According to what KNAB said about Rīgas satiksme criminal process in the past, it was initiated in regards to representatives of Czech and Polish companies performing illegal activities in cooperation with officials from Rīgas satiksme and Riga City Council. These people were engaged in money laundering activities. They ensured an influx of money using actual and fictive companies. Bribes were paid to Riga City Council and Rīgas satiksme officials in the three aforementioned procurements.

KNAB also notes that bribes consisted of interests from the total worth of contracts detailed in the criminal process. KNAB investigators continue work to determine the size of bribes. KNAB also refrains from commenting on any statuses applied to Riga City Council officials.

Nekā personīga investigative programme reported that for every trolleybus, bus and tram supplied to Riga the paid bribe reached 5-7% of their worth. The total value of the three procurements together exceeds EUR 270 million. This means the paid bribes reach EUR 13.5-20 million.


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