Criminal probe seeks official blame for Expo fiasco

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A criminal investigation has been launched into the inactions of officials involved in the organizing of Latvia’s pavilion at the Expo Milano 2015, announced the General Prosecutor’s Office Thursday.

Based on an internal review by the Economics Ministry, the Department for the Protection of Persons’ and State Rights at the General Prosecutor’s Office opened the criminal case into deliberate actions taken in abuse of official position, which have caused financial damages to the state treasury worth €1,173,312.

The case has been sent for further processing to the State Police Riga Regional Precinct.

As reported, at the end of February the Economics Ministry found serious breaches of conduct and censured four officials, three of whom were removed from office in order to obtain objective data on the case. A fourth official, state secretary Mārtiņš Lazdovskis, had already handed in his resignation and thus escaped disciplinary action.

The case comes several months after Latvia made an embarrassing pull-out from the annual international World EXPO exhibition after botching tender preparations for the installation of its national pavilion at the Milan venue. After waffling over whether or not to pull the planned project and hastily come up with a less expensive and more easily managed idea, the government nevertheless chose to cancel Latvia’s participation entirely.


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