On 12 September, as part of earlier criminal proceedings, the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau of Latvia (KNAB) conducted criminal procedural activities, including more than 20 searches and interrogations.
On 9 June 2023, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) initiated criminal proceedings and transferred the proceedings to KNAB, being the competent authority to carry out the pre-trial investigation. In these criminal proceedings, KNAB is investigating criminal offences classified according to Section 177, Paragraph three and Section 318, Paragraph three of the Criminal Law, i.e. fraud committed on a large scale and abuse of official position causing serious consequences.
The information available to KNAB shows that public officials of Valmiera City Council, possibly abusing their official position, together with representatives of several companies, committed unlawful acts in order to illegally obtain more than EUR 4 million of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding for a project implemented by the local government. The project involves creating infrastructure for a building in Valmiera. By their actions, significant losses have been caused to the European Union.
Six persons involved in the criminal proceedings currently have the right to defence.
KNAB continues the pre-trial investigation and verification of the evidence obtained. In order to ensure a successful pre-trial investigation of the alleged criminal offences, KNAB is currently unable to provide further information on the criminal proceedings and the persons involved.
KNAB draws attention to the fact that persons involved in any criminal proceedings have the right to defence and reminds that the presumption of innocence is applied at all stages of criminal proceedings — from the moment a person is suspected or accused until the moment his or her guilt of committing a criminal offence is established in accordance with the procedures laid down by law.