Big fine handed out in vote-buying case

Latgale Regional Court has slapped a fine of €27,000 on Vilani local councillor and businessman Andris Kozulis in the case of vote-buying in favor of Unity candidate Dzintars Zakis in the Latvian general elections in fall 2014.

Kozuls has also been banned from himself acting as a councillor or running in elections for two years.

The case has been closed against another suspect, Andrejs Sackovskis, because of his death.

The full text of the verdict will be available on October 24, and it can then be appealed.

The appeal in this case concerning Kozuls on the verdict of Rezekne court was submitted by the prosecutor.

The Rezekne Court earlier found Sackovskis guilty and imposed a suspended one-year jail term on him with a probation period of a year and a half. He was also banned to approach certain people and leave the country. Kozuls was acquitted by the first instance court then.

Sackovskis was satisfied with the first instance court decision, but Kozulis did not comment on it.

The prosecutor had asked the court to sentence Kozulis to one year and six months in jail, strip him of his local lawmaker’s mandate and ban to run for the elections for three years. The prosecutor also asked the court to sentence Sackovskis to one year in jail.

Both men have been charged according to the Criminal Law's Section 90 - interference with the exercise of voting rights. The maximum penalty if convicted is three years in jail or community service or a fine.

As reported, the Security Police initiated several criminal processes on possible vote buying in favor of several parties and their candidates during the 12th Saeima elections.

In two cases on vote-buying in favor of Zakis, court sentences have come into force. The Rezekne town court sentenced two brothers - Viktors Balabolins got 180 hours of community service and Aleksandrs Balabolins got 160 hours of community service. Previously the court in Rezekne sentenced Jevgenijs Brovcenko to 100 hours of community service.

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