KNAB informs about the progress of criminal proceeding against Riga Tourism Development Bureau officials
20 / 05 / 2019
On April 5, the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau of Latvia (KNAB) initiated criminal proceeding against Riga Tourism Development Bureau officials, an organisation of Riga City Council, for budget misappropriation, document forgery, use of fictitious documents, and fraud.
On May 13, KNAB carried out criminal procedural activities, including more than ten searches at different addresses, and also several seizures. Besides Latvia, searches were also undertaken in Germany, Sweden and Spain. Significant amount of information, storage media, as well as excise goods without excise stamps were seized. Dozens of persons have been questioned.
Within the criminal proceeding, two persons have been detained, who have been duly assigned the status of suspects. At the moment, both persons have been freed applying non-custodial security measures: ban to take a specific position, ban to leave the country and prohibition to approach specific persons. Please note – it is likely that the investigation process might result in an increase of the number of suspects.
The available facts acquired by investigation officers reveal that Riga Tourism Development Bureau officials may have misappropriated financial funds on a large scale, including signing forged collaboration agreements, paying private expenses, forgery and using forged documents, employment of fictitious employees and defrauding financial funds on a large scale. Initial calculations indicate that losses resulting from criminal activities are not less than 300,000 Euros.
Please be reminded that the investigation of this criminal proceeding will be time-consuming, given the fact that alleged criminal offences are connected with foreign countries and considering the set of operations needed for a successful investigation. Regarding the information obtained by KNAB, the traces of the criminal offence lead to foreign countries, which is why the process leader had to send several European investigation orders, and will have to send several letters rogatory, which in turn can significantly increase the investigation time needed to solve the criminal proceeding. At the same time, different kind of expertise has to be done during investigation. The process of conducting an expertise is very time-consuming in Latvia as it is done in chronological order. For example, phonoscopic or voice expertise is executed on average within 12 months, document and handwriting expertise – within two to four months.
It shall be emphasized that KNAB will conduct the investigation with upmost accuracy and examine all the facts from the investigation. When establishing new facts, which lead to a possibility of different type of criminal offense in the jurisdiction of KNAB, they will be thoroughly investigated to hold the perpetrators liable for committing a crime in accordance to the procedures prescribed by law.