15 tonnes of vodka smuggled into Latvia - former Harmony candidate detained

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On the night of June 1, the State Police (VP) intercepted 15 tonnes of smuggled vodka and, in connection with this crime, arrested the former Saeima candidate from the Harmony party Ziedonis Apariņš, according to information obtained by LETA on July 5.

Together with the current Riga City Council deputy Sandris Bergmanis (Harmony) and the former Saeima deputy Andris Morozovs (Harmony), Apariņš had founded the Latvian Transport association. 

The State Police confirmed to LETA that a cargo consisting of 15 tons of smuggled vodka had been intercepted on June 1. Two persons have been detained and criminal proceedings have been initiated in accordance with part 2 of Article 221 of the Criminal Law for illegal storage, movement (transportation), and sale of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. 

The police noted that an investigation is underway.

Morozovs, Bergmanis and Apariņš were all candidates for Harmony in the 12th Saeima elections, but only Morozovs was elected to the parliament. Bergmanis was later elected to the Riga City Council.

All three of them, together with the owner of the road transport company “Lignum” Uldis Līviņš, have founded the association “Latvian Transport”. Apariņš and Morozovs are still officials of the association. In the past, Bergmanis was an official there as well. Information provided on "Firmas.lv" shows that last year the Latvian Transport Association worked with a turnover of 134 789 euros and losses worth of 687 euros.

Morozovs claimed that he was not aware of Apariņš' detention, adding that the two of them have not communicated in recent years.

Morozovs explained that Apariņš had initially been involved in the association's work because at that time it was related to his private business. Over the years, however, his involvement with the association declined before ceasing completely. According to Morozovs, Apariņš left Harmony in 2015 or 2016, and since then there has been no communication with him.

In the past, Apariņš and Bergmanis were also the officials of the “Stop Drugs” association, though Bergmanis told LETA this week that he has not met with Apariņš since 2015. “He was one of the volunteers at “Stop Drugs”, where he helped to fight against the spice-sellers [spice being a high that enjoyed a vogue a few years ago]. But once the association had accomplished its goal and ceased its activities, Apariņš and I stopped communicating,” Bergmanis said, adding that he is not aware of Apariņš current activities or his arrest.

Apariņš is also a board member of the healthy lifestyle promotion association “Spartaks”. According to the association's website, its main activities include organizing sports games and competitions as well as parties for children. The association also makes promotional videos and films events. 

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