Death hostel owner Rieksts declared wanted

The Riga City Court has decided to order the arrest of Ernests Rieksts, the accused in a criminal case concerning a fire which took nine lives.

Nine people were killed in the fire in an illegal hostel on Merķeļa Street 8 in April 2021 and rescuers evacuated a further 24 people.

As the LETA news agency found out, the trial of the case is currently suspended because of the simple fact that Rieksts has not shown up to the court hearings.

As previously reported by LSM, after the fire, Rieksts started a bizarre scheme in which he tried to sell plots of land on a Fijian island and was spotted on the New Zealand reality show "Border Patrol", which filmed him being denied entry to the country due to his criminal record.

At the end of 2023, the State Security Service also started criminal proceedings against him for possible glorification and justification of crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine, as well as activities aimed at inciting national and ethnic hatred and discord.

Rieksts also has links to an attempt to create a new social network for conspiracy theorists, though it appeared to have enjoyed very little success.

Rieksts, who is mentioned as the actual owner of the hostel, and his brother Andrejs Gailis, who owned the premises where the hostel was located, are the two accused of criminal offenses that entail responsibility for conducting business without registration and for willful violation of fire safety regulations, resulting in the deaths of several people.

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