Attīstībai/By! politicians may be involved in bribe extortion case – Baltic News Network

Politicians from the Attīstībai/Par! May be involved in the criminal case being investigated by the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) regarding the fabrication of charges and the attempt to extort a bribe of EUR 100,000 from the owner of Stiga RM, Andris Ramoliņš, according to the victim.

Asked by TV3 News whether the criminal group might have links with Attīstībai/Par! politicians, Ramoliņš replied: “There may be a link, yes.

He didn’t mention any names, saying he had signed a nondisclosure agreement.

The TV3 program Nekā personīga showed footage from Attīstībai/Par! politicians Edgars Jaunups while reporting on this case. At the same time, the program did not mention any names.

Jaunups claimed in a conversation with LETA that he had no involvement in this matter and that he did not know any of the people mentioned in it.

According to reports, the criminal group also included officials from the State Tax Service (VID) and the Customs Police.

It was also reported that in August the KNAB initiated criminal charges in several places, including VID. These activities were part of a criminal case concerning possible corruption by a group following a prior agreement. Three people were detained and two of them have the right to defence.

KNAB did not report additional information on this case, but LETA information indicates that the head of a VID tax and customs police office Intars Štālbergs was arrested. TV3 reports that he and the other person under arrest appealed the security measures, but the court refused to change the security measure.

Ramoliņš’s company, Stiga RM, managed to significantly increase its turnover last year – from 24 million euros in 2020 to 43 million euros in 2021, according to information from Firmas.lv. The company’s profits also increased, from nearly 2 million euros to 9.4 million euros in 2021.

Nekā personīga reported that in the fall of 2021, the businessman learned that authorities were planning an ordered criminal case. Several months later, Ramoliņš was investigated by a tax and customs police investigator, who informed him that criminal proceedings had been initiated against companies owned by members of his family.

“They listed all the conditions – stopping everything that belongs to us not as legal persons, but as private persons. I would also be detained for at least 48 hours. On top of that, everything would be leaked to the press to make sure the order is complete. The emphasis was on maximum publicity, because it would harm us as businessmen,” Ramoliņš said.

The head of VID made an offer to the businessman – ha can pay, come to an agreement on the period of detention and search and prepare for it. 100,000 euros were requested.

The businessman had no doubt that what the VID official had told him would happen, because the police had collected information not available to the public, such as the construction of a new factory, loan operations in commercial banks, as well as planned state guarantees. The businessman was also informed of some details of other criminal cases that the tax and customs police had in progress and that only those who were investigating could have.

The businessman agreed to sue those responsible for the VID. He reported the money request to KNAB. The bribe extortionists asked the businessman to buy two new phones and that these phones were only to be used to communicate with them. Phones had to stay in airplane mode and only be turned on at certain times. He had to come and meet these officials alone. He was searched each time. One and the same person came to meet him, but the businessman had no doubt that the group consisted of several tax and customs police officers.

Meetings were held at different places and times. For example, a meeting took place in a cemetery. There were meetings in which no one spoke – all requests from VID officials were typed on a PC screen.

The businessman agreed to pay the money in parts. In fact, he was picking up. This was possible because each step had to be coordinated with all members of the criminal group.

The fabricated criminal procedure has been hidden from control institutions, as reported by Nekā personīga.

According to information available to the program, Inita Lūre, a VID employee who has worked in the finance police since 2005, is among the officials detained by the authorities.

The Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that fabricated criminal proceedings had been initiated against companies belonging to Ramoliņš’s family. The prosecutor fired the responsible tax and customs police investigator two months later.

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