On 25 May, the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB), with the consent of the Prosecutor of the Division for Coordination of the Corruption Combatting of the Criminal Justice Department of the of the Prosecutor General's Office, decided to terminate criminal proceedings regarding the alleged involvement of two former public officials and representatives of several companies in corruption offences and money laundering.
Initial information indicated that responsible officials of Riga City Council and Riga City State Municipality, representatives of companies related to the capital company, as well as officials of Czech and Polish companies may have agreed on the necessary actions to implement the bribery and the legalisation of the proceeds of the bribery. In the course of the investigation, KNAB obtained and verified information indicating that natural persons assisted in the laundering of criminal proceeds and in ensuring financial flows with the aim of concealing the true nature and origin of the funds.
In its pre-trial investigations, KNAB used a variety of analytical, criminal intelligence and investigative activities and methods. KNAB also used all international cooperation mechanisms to obtain information, i.e., it engaged experts from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) for support, established a joint investigation team with law enforcement authorities of the Czech Republic and actively cooperated with investigative authorities of the Republic of Poland.
KNAB also sent a total of 22 mutual legal assistance requests and European Investigation Orders to 12 countries. The requested information was one of the most important sources of information for the successful conclusion of the pre-trial investigation. As most foreign authorities were slow or formal in fulfilling the mutual legal assistance requests, the possibility of obtaining evidence was hampered or completely ruled out.
Despite the extensive investigative activities and cooperation mechanisms implemented by KNAB, it was not possible to obtain sufficient evidence to hold the persons involved in the criminal proceedings criminally liable. Taking into account that the Criminal Procedure Law provides that all reasonable doubts regarding guilt which cannot be eliminated shall be evaluated as beneficial for the person who has the right to defence, KNAB, with the consent of the Prosecutor of the Division for Coordination of the Corruption Combatting of the Criminal Justice Department of the of the Prosecutor General's Office, adopted a decision to terminate the criminal proceedings.
On 12 November 2018, KNAB initiated criminal proceedings for alleged criminal offences under Section 320(3), Section 323(3) and Section 195(3) of the Criminal Law. In the course of the investigation, additional information was obtained and the criminal proceedings were qualified under Section 20(2) and Section 320(3), Section 20(2) and Section 195(3), as well as Section 318(3) and Section 195(3) of the Criminal Law, i.e., for organising the taking of bribes, organising and actually implementing large-scale money laundering, as well as for abuse of official position leading to grave consequences.
KNAB points out that the information obtained during the pre-trial investigation has served as a basis for initiating four other KNAB criminal proceedings, three of which have resulted in initiations of criminal prosecution. KNAB has also forwarded the information to the State Police, the State Revenue Service, the European Public Prosecutor's Office and the European Anti-Fraud Office, as appropriate, for evaluation.
KNAB thanks the Polish Anti-Corruption Service (CBA), OLAF, the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) and other partner services in Latvia and abroad for their support. Irrespective of KNAB's decision, the CBA is still investigating its own criminal proceedings.