Former LU rector acquitted in illegal benefits payment case

The Rīga City Court in Vidzeme suburb today acquitted Indriķis Muižnieks, former rector of the University of Latvia (LU), in a criminal case of illegal payment of benefits to employees of the university who were leaving their jobs, LETA news agency reported.

The prosecutor had asked to find Muižnieks guilty of abuse of office and to impose a fine of EUR 31,000, depriving him of the right to hold public office in the public administration for two years, the LETA news agency found out.

The prosecutor's office will file a protest because the state prosecution has no doubts about the guilt of the person and there is sufficient evidence in the case file to prove the guilt of Muižnieks, the authority said. At the moment, the court of first instance and the public prosecution have only different assessments of this evidence, the prosecution adds.

The full verdict is due on Monday. When the court prepares it, it will also be clear where the opinion of the public prosecution and the court differ on the guilt of the person in the commission of the offense charged, the prosecutor's office said.

According to the audit of the State Audit Office (VK), the LU rector paid unjustified payments of EUR 19,474 to two employees. The VK referred these findings to the Prosecutor General's Office, which forwarded them to the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB).

Later, the Prosecutor's Office indicted Indriķis Muižnieks for alleged illegal payment of allowances at the University of Latvia. The prosecutor's office confirmed that the indictment was for deliberate acts committed by a public official by abusing his official position if these acts had caused serious consequences.

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