As De Facto found out, the case was isolated from a larger process involving a group of certificate traders – a medical assistant and her acquaintances – as well as several recipients of such a service.
Rimšēvičs has gained considerable experience in the courts in recent years. Rīga District Court in Jurmala has been reviewing the case for the fourth year, where he has been accused of taking bribes from representatives of Trasta commercial bank, which is now being liquidated. In May this year, when the defendants themselves were interrogated, Rimšēvičs also remarked on his health: “Everything is OK with health except for the side effects after those vaccinations.”
This phrase from Rimšēvičs apparently amused at least some of the participants in the process at the time. Shortly before that, it became public knowledge that a case had been taken to court accusing Rimšēvičs of paying €400 to get the digital certificate of Covid-19 vaccination without actually being vaccinated.
On October 20, prosecutor Ilona Kurca read the charge against Rimšēvičs in the Rīga City courtroom. The indictment States: “In July 2021, at an unspecified time in the investigation, but no later than August 3, 2021, Ilmārs Rimšēvičs approached the person against whom the process has been described in separate records, with a request to arrange for him to obtain a digital certificate of the vaccination against Covid-19 carried out without any vaccination being carried out. The abovementioned person informed Ilmārs Rimšēvičs that he has the possibility to arrange the execution of the request for money – EUR 400. ”
Rimšēvičs allegedly later met this person at a cafe in the center of Rīga, where he also handed over these 400 euros, and later the money went through a longer chain involving a medical worker. Rimšēvičs is therefore accused of unlawfully benefiting the intermediary. He is also charged with several episodes of using a fake document, having made three trips from Riga airport in late 2021. Prior to the flights, Rimšēvičs presented his vaccination certificate to airBaltic employees, while on return – to border guards.
According to the indictment, in a medical establishment in Ziepniekkalns, the money or part of it was handed over to a medical worker who entered Rimšēvičs' personal data into “E-Health” and noted that he had received a Covdi-19 vaccine.
In court, Rimšēvičs said he disagreed with the accusation, rejected the facts mentioned in the accusation and did not find himself guilty. De Facto could not obtain an extended interview with him.
Rimšēvičs' lawyer Normunds Duļevskis also expressed his conviction that they will succeed in proving the innocence of the client in court:
“There is evidence in the case that Ilmārs Rimšēvičs has been vaccinated, that he has antibodies both after he has been ill and after vaccination. Other evidence has been obtained. Come to the hearings, watch, make sure to inform the public!”
What was heard at the hearing allows the entire course of events to be reconstructed. Rimšēvičs' personal data was allegedly handled by assistant doctor Inese Pugaceviča. The data, and the money, were brought by her acquaintance, Kaspars Pundiņš, who had appeared in court as a witness. The two have already been sentenced to conditional imprisonment by a court verdict in a case in which Rimšēvičs' certificate is one of the episodes because there have been six “clients” in total.
According to the judgment, the medic received only part of the payments received by the organizers – “at least EUR 40” from one person. Allegedly, the initiator of the scheme was Kaspars Pundiņš' mother, against whom the criminal charges have since been dropped as she has died. However, her former partner Ilmārs Jargans, who could not attend, had also been summoned to testify at court. It can be inferred from the judgment that he was the one who supplied “customers”, namely their money and personal data. Jargans has also been given a two-year conditional prison sentence in two instances, but the verdict has not taken effect because of an appeal to the Supreme Court Senate.
Jargans is socially active – he was once the press secretary of Aizkraukles Bank, now a teacher, has unsuccessfully run for the post of Member of the National Electronic Mass Media Council, has also participated in local government and Saeima elections. A year ago, Jargans was a candidate on the list of “Latvia First” led by Ainārs Šlesers.
In a phone call with De Facto and in an email later sent, Jargans says the case against him was politically motivated, and the purpose of power was to humiliate and intimidate him, as evidenced by his detention at school while teaching a chemistry class for high school students.
Jargans did not deny that he participated in illegal activities as a mediator, yet the goal was to prevent, according to Jargans, more evil and injustice -- the need to get vaccinated against Covid-19. The transfer of the money was figurative because he himself had no means of accessing “E-Health” and contact with people who could.
When asked if he met Rimšēvičs in the summer of 2021, Jargans stated: “hard to say. I can say that I suffered a very severe psychological trauma, which I have been treating for a year and a half.”
Jargans pointed to what he believes is a suspicious coincidence – that Rimšēvičs is the only one of the “clients” involved in the case, against whom a separate case has been initiated because the criminal proceedings against the others were terminated. This could be a simple explanation – the others might have confessed and agreed to the prosecutor's sentencing orders. Rimšēvičs, on the other hand, would gain a criminal record by admitting guilt, which could worsen his situation in the corruption case. Moreover, in such a case, the security of EUR 100 thousand paid for him in the past could also be transferred to the State budget.