Rīgas satiksme board declined meeting Škoda representatives with Ušakovs

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Škoda Transportation representatives visited the offices of Rīga mayor Nils Ušakovs (Harmony), a week before Ušakovs' office and home were searched by Latvia's anti-graft squad, the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB), reported LTV's De facto February 3.

Representatives of Rīgas satiksme, however, declined to attend the meeting, reports De facto. Rīgas satiksme, which recently had a new board installed after the previous one resigned in the wake of the accusations, is in the center of bribery allegations in rigged tenders for delivering Polish and Czech buses, trolleys and trams to the Latvian capital. 

In the meeting at Ušakovs', the mayor and his party members met the Czech ambassador and representatives Škoda Transportation Group, one of the companies involved in the multi-million scandal.

The two parties reportedly said they'd been shocked about the allegations and that, should ongoing tenders be cancelled, there might be great losses both to the city of Rīga and the Czech company.

It should be noted that Vladislav Kozák, Sales Area Director at the Czech company Škoda Transportation, has been under arrest of the past month and a half, and that Rīgas satiksme now wants to extract more than €5.5 million in late fees from companies linked to Škoda. 

"Our primary goal is receiving a written reply to our letter about penalties and advance payments, and then we can meet and discuss technical details. I think a meeting such as this would be useless without receiving the letter, and this was decided at the level of the board," said Anrijs Matīss, temporary head of Rīgas satiksme. 

Ušakovs stressed, however, that the matter of late fees was not discussed in the meeting and that the meeting could in no way be interpreted as putting pressure on Rīgas satiksme to open discussions. 

A number of transport deliveries have been delayed for over a year, and while Matīss couldn't comment as to why the previous board did not try to extract late fees, he did admit that the previous agreement was supervised by Igors Volkinšteins, another suspect in the case.

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