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Progress of KNAB activities in 2019

23 / 01 / 2020

KNAB considers 2019 to have been dynamic and effective. The activities of the Bureau have contributed to the overall national economy of Latvia and will continue to contribute in the future.

The work of KNAB is characterized by achievements in both combating and prevention of corruption. The main quantitative indicators in the fight against corruption are the number of initiated criminal cases; the number of criminal cases transferred for prosecution and the number of persons transferred for prosecution (see infographic).

Compared to the previous year, the number of criminal proceedings initiated in 2019 has increased by 24%, reaching the highest number of criminal proceedings initiated in the last 10 years, i.e. 47 criminal proceedings.

Although the number of criminal cases transferred for prosecution and the number of persons transferred for prosecution have decreased in 2019, it is important to emphasize that in 2019 KNAB had several pending large and complex criminal cases involving senior officials. Criminal cases are characterized by complex crime patterns and financial flows. Investigations of such criminal cases require considerable efforts by investigators, criminal intelligence officers and analysts, as well as international cooperation activities.

In 2019, in order to achieve a fair regulation of criminal legal relations and property matters, 19 real estates, 5 gold bars (2,5kg, worth approximately 100 000 EUR), cars, as well as cash and securities worth more than 4,4 million euros were seized in the KNAB pending criminal cases. Thirty nine decisions were made in six criminal proceedings to seize funds or property, including seizing of funds or property abroad. The funds and property of four persons have been seized as a result of requests for legal aid from other countries.

In 2019 KNAB also provided substantial support to the State Police Economic Crime Enforcement Department and the Prosecution Office of the Republic of Latvia to facilitate the progress of a case, which resulted in 29 million euros in non-resident accounts in a bank being seized in favour of Latvia. These funds will be transferred to the State budget.

The quality of KNAB criminal intelligence and analytical work is evidenced not only by the number of initiated criminal proceedings and cases transferred for prosecution, but also by the court rulings that have entered into effect (see infographic). In 2019 the Court sentenced 10 persons to deprivation of liberty. Half of these persons were sentenced to actual deprivation of liberty. The total duration of the sentence was 27 years. Seven persons were fined a total of 107 500 EUR. Four persons were sentenced to a total of 760 hour of community service.

The most significant policy planning achievements in 2019 are related to the strengthening of the financial independence of political parties and the monitoring of the use of State budget financing.

To reduce the role of money in politics, the Saeima supported KNAB proposals for improving the regulations on financing of political organisations (parties) and monitoring thereof. For example, private donation thresholds were reviewed, a threshold of 30 000 EUR was set for illegally spent State budget financing, upon the reaching of which State budget financing disbursement is suspended, as well as a solution for the accumulated debt liabilities of political organizations (parties) was proposed.

KNAB proposals on the conditions and control of spending of State budget financing granted to political organizations (parties) were included in the regulations, stating inter alia that spending of the State budget financing needs to be effective.

To prevent situations were a municipal councillor benefits from their position in an association, for which the municipality is one of the financing sources, KNAB drafted amendments of law. Accordingly, municipality councillors will be restricted from receiving a salary for a position they hold in an association which has received funds or property from the municipality or its institutions.

See the progress report on educational activities here.

KNAB continues to analyse the progress made in 2019 and will publish an annual report in the near future.