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Anti-graft squad visits Ventspils council over abuse of office suspicions

On February 24, the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB), Latvia's dedicated anti-graft force, performed criminal procedural activities in Ventspils municipality within the framework of a previously initiated criminal proceeding, including at Ventspils City Council, KNAB said in a statement February 25. 

"The actions were taken in connection with the suspicion of possible abuse of office," KNAB said, pointing out that in this case the actions were rather in the form of interviews than sudden searches.

KNAB said it "received information from several sources that the resources of Ventspils municipality may have been used inappropriately for the performance of the basic functions of the municipality" instead benefitting unnamed individuals.

KNAB believes that as a result of a possible criminal offense, the local government could have suffered losses of at least 50,000 euros.

In order not to affect the pre-trial investigation, KNAB said it would not provide more information on the criminal proceedings, such as the names of any suspects.

However, according to unofficial information obtained by LTV, recently-jailed longtime Ventspils mayor Aivars Lembergs is not one of the individuals directly involved in this latest development.

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