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KNAB veic kratīšanas Valmierā; aizturēts mērs Baiks

Anti-graft squad swoops on Valmiera municipality

Latvia's dedicated anti-corruption force, the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) was in action in the northern city of Valmiera September 12 in connection with suspected misappropriation of European Union funds by officials of the local municipality.   

According to Latvian Television, the mayor of Valmiera, Jānis Baiks (For Valmiera and Vidzeme party), was among those detained when KNAB carried out more than 20 searches, seizures and interrogations as part of a previously started criminal process.

"The information at the disposal of KNAB shows that public officials of the municipality of Valmiera, possibly by abusing their official position, together with representatives of several companies, performed illegal actions in order for the municipality to illegally obtain more than 4 million euros within the framework of a project implemented by it from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The project is related to the creation of infrastructure for a building in Valmiera. In this way, individuals have caused the European Union a large amount of damage," said KNAB. 

According to KNAB the criminal proceedings spring from the third part of Article 177 and the third part of Article 318 of the Criminal Law – fraud on a large scale and abuse of official position, which has caused serious consequences.

Unofficial information available to Latvian Television shows that it may be related to the city's Industrial and Export Park. Its cost is almost 7 million euros, of which 4.2 million euros are money from the European Regional Development Fund – though this information has not been confirmed.

KNAB continues to conduct a pre-trial investigation and cannot provide more information about the criminal process and the persons involved in it at the moment.

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