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Suspects in Rīgas satiksme nano-water criminal case continue to deny their guilt

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUSuspects in the so-called public nano-water criminal case involving public transport company Rīgas satiksme (RS) continue to deny their guilt. On Monday, 27 May, all four of the accused said as much during proceedings at Riga City Vidzeme Suburb Court.

During proceedings the prosecutor responsible for the case read the list of charges, which state how in 2011 Vjačeslavs Stunžāns was accepted to work in RS, where one of his main duties was introducing new technological solutions for cleaning vehicles. This included nano-technological solutions.

According to the prosecution, Stunžāns together with accountant Vita Baurovska and supplier of fake nano-cleaning liquid Aleksandrs Bezkorovainijs came up with a scheme to use multiple companies to form a cartel and take part in RS procurements involving nano-technologies.

After winning procurements, companies associated with Stunžāns started supplying to RS ‘chemistry of unknown origin’ labeled as nano-cleaning liquids. Stunžāns had participated in product reception at RS. He told other RS workers that the received cleaning liquid is exactly what was ordered.

Additionally, Stunžāns, Bezkorovainijs and Valērijs Baškirovs are accused of money laundering performed after receiving funds from RS. The money was most often legalized using fictive transactions, including with companies registered in China.

After listening to presented charges, all of the accused said they do not admit their guilt, nor do they admit enforced compensation for the damages their actions had caused. Court proceedings are currently focused on interviewing the victim – RS.

As it is known, charges against the aforementioned people were raised in accordance with Part 3 of Section 177 of the Criminal Law for fraud, if it has been committed on a large scale, or has been committed in an organised group, Part 3 of Section 195 of the Criminal Law for laundering of criminally acquired financial resources or other property, as well as Part 3 of Section 318 of the Criminal Law for committing intentional acts using his or her official position in bad faith, if such acts have caused serious consequences.

RS has also submitted to court application for compensation of damages worth EUR 811 009 from the accused persons.

RS representative Baiba Bartaševiča says that only court can assess from whom compensation can be enforced. Also the court is the institution can decide if the request should be satisfied fully or partially.

Latvia’s State Police (SP) had previously announced to the press that an organized group had initiated in 2012 Riga’s municipal company to commence a procurement procedure for nano-technological chemical cleaning liquids, ensuring that contenders associated with the organized group were picked to participate in the procurement.

Coordinating their offers beforehand, contenders were able to win and supply chemical substances of unknown origin, claiming the substances are of nano-technological origin even though the winning contender had no such substances at all, SP reported.

Criminal activity ceased in 2015 when information regarding possible fraud reached the media. At the time, public broadcaster TV3 programme Nekā personīga reported on 1 February 2015 that fraud may have taken place at RS, saying that instead of promised nano-water the company was supplied with water.

The programme reported that in the nano-water case police made suspects the former RS worker Stunžāns, nano-water supplier Bezkorovainijs and auditor Baškirovs.

In reaction to information reported by the media, RS commenced an internal investigation, in which no violations were uncovered in the procurement.

It was also reported that in 2018 the prosecutor warned Riga City Council and RS in relation to non-compliance with procurement procedures. Una Rēķe, representative of the Prosecutor General’s Office, explained that the nano-water criminal case deals with illegal actions performed by an organized group and the behaviour of RS procurement committee, as well as compliance of the procedure to regulations.

The prosecutor’s office concluded that actions of RS officials bear signs of possible criminal activity.

One Riga City Council official was given a warning.

The Competition Council (CC) has applied RS with a fine of EUR 2.4 million in the nano-water case for allowing cartel agreement as CC uncovered signs of this illegal act in two price surveys performed by RS.

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