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KNAB requests the initiation of criminal prosecution against one legal person

12 / 08 / 2020

On 10 August 2020, the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) sent to the Prosecutor General's Office criminal case to initiate criminal prosecution against one legal person registered in Latvia, for the alleged bribery of a foreign public official.

On 6 June 2019 KNAB commenced criminal proceedings regarding an alleged violation of Section 323 of the Criminal Law (“Giving of bribes”) against a legal person in whose interests its representative committed a crime.  Evidence of the criminal case contain information that the representative of the legal person in 2016 bribed a Lithuanian public official. The total amount of bribes exceeded ten thousand euros and were given for the public official in order to make decisions in favour of the particular company.

KNAB Deputy Director for Investigation Matters Ms Ineta Cīrule comments: “The Criminal Law can be rigorously enforced not only against natural persons who engage in bribery, but also against companies in whose interests bribery was carried out. If a natural or legal person accept and practice bribery, the only remedy is strict application of liability regime and disciplinary sanctions. Furthermore, any company that intends to participate in public tenders abroad and considers to act illegally must be aware that legal persons are held liable for its actions in accordance to Latvian laws and regulations.”

On 30 May 2014, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions entered into force in Latvia. Latvia, as a party to the aforementioned Convention, has undertaken the obligations to detect, investigate and prosecute persons who have committed bribery of foreign public officials or related criminal offenses, such as intermediation in bribery or money laundering.

KNAB recalls that it is particularly important not to engage in any illegal activity under any circumstance and if a public official in Latvia or abroad requests a bribe, it must be reported without delay to KNAB or law enforcement authorities of the respective country.

After forwarding the criminal case to the Prosecution Office, KNAB concludes the respective pre-trial investigation. Henceforth, the Prosecution Office is responsible for the progress of the criminal case.

KNAB recalls that no person shall be considered guilty until the guilt of such person in the committing of a criminal offence has been determined in accordance with the procedures established by law. Simultaneously KNAB stresses that a person involved in any criminal proceedings has the right to defence and recalls that the presumption of innocence is applicable in all stages of criminal proceedings – starting from the moment they are suspected or accused of committing a criminal offence, until their guilt in the committing of a criminal offence has been proven in accordance with the procedures established by law.