Former Rīga councilor sentenced to prison over bribery charges

On Monday, November 27, Riga City Court found former Riga City Council official Ārija Stabiņa guilty of taking bribes, falsifying and using fake documents, as well as indicating false information in the state official's declaration, and sentenced her to two years in prison, as well as a fine of EUR 14,087, LETA reported.

Stabiņa is also prevented from holding posts in local government institutions and public administration within the next three years.

The court also imposed a fine of 13 minimum monthly salaries, or EUR 8,060, and a recovery of EUR 6,027.38 in favor of the state.

Stabiņa is accused of taking a €6,018 bribe, while the then head of the Protocol Division of Riga City Council's Apartment Management, Ļena Paščenkova, was previously given a year-and-a-half prison sentence by Rīga Regional Court for accepting illegal benefits. That judgment has entered into force.

The former head of the Housing and Environment Department of Riga City Council has been criminally prosecuted in this case for taking bribes and related service fraud, which took place between March and September 2012, when she was detained. She has been accused of committing nine criminal offenses, seven of which were committed in a group with a local government employee who was previously sentenced to a year and a half in prison by Riga Regional Court.

Stabiņa was detained by corruption cops for taking long-term bribes in exchange for influencing the line of municipal apartments in autumn 2012. A couple of months later, the court released her in exchange for bail, but when the decision to arrest Stabiņa was made half a year later, she turned out to be missing.

The state police searched for Stabiņa for five years, also announced her internationally missing, until she was finally detained by Egyptian authorities in November 2017 and deported to Latvia, where Stabiņa was arrested.

Stabiņa spent three months in custody. The Riga City Vidzeme suburb court then reviewed the security measure applied to her and released her from custody again due to the expiration of the term of restriction of rights.

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