Prosecutor appeals fraud case verdict involving Saeima deputy

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The Prosecutor General's Office has filed an appeal against the May verdict of the Riga Latgale Suburb Court acquitting businessman Viesturs Tamužs and Saeima deputy Atis Zakatistovs of fraud charges, the LETA news agency reports.

Now the appeal will have to be heard by the Riga Regional Court.

Prosecutor Māris Urbāns of the investigation department of particularly important cases had previously submitted a criminal case to the court of first instance accusing the two mentioned persons of embezzling 26,620 euros and attempting to embezzle 2,420 euros from the waste management company SIA "Eco Baltia grupa". According to the prosecutor's office, an agreement involved Tamužs hiring Zakatistovs for consultancy work that never transpired but was paid for, with the proceeds alleged to have been used to finance Zakatistovs as a politician.

"Eco Baltia Group" did not pay the last submitted invoice for 2,420 euros, because the management of the company suspected that the consulting contracts were being used for illegal financing of a political party.

In April 2019, the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) called for the defendants to be prosecuted for fraud. Zakatistovs' immunity as a Saeima deputy was subsequently lifted.

Both defendants have denied they are guilty of any offense and following the first verdict, Zakatistovs expressed frustration that media had covered his detention and charging more than his acquittal, complaining that it had damaged his reputation. 

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