Businessman Gulami detained in Latvia

On May 12, businessman Gulam Gulami was detained by the State Police, reported Latvian Television May 13.

The court has detained the controversial businessman as the only suspect in criminal proceedings related to the ownership of a hotel in Riga's Old Town, LTV said.

An eyewitness photograph sent to Latvian Television shows that the Royal Square Hotel in Old Town was packed on Tuesday - not with visitors, but officials. The hotel confirmed that police had carried out a search.

No explanations were provided by the police. 

"They didn't talk to us at all, we were treated like... I don't even know what," said the hotel accountant Svetlana Petraitiene.

Entrepreneur Gulami has already been involved in disputes regarding ownership of Old Riga hotels in the past, as well as other criminal proceedings. Two years ago, a court found him guilty in a case involving the disappearance of cotton cargo worth EUR 9 million and sentenced Gulami to eight years in prison. The judgment was appealed and the proceedings are ongoing. Gulai has also been charged with bribery.

Representatives of the State Police said that the current proceedings concern large-scale or organized fraud, falsification of a document or seal, as well as illegal destruction or opening of a postal consignment. 

Asked why he was detained, Gulami said to Latvian Television: "You know, it's the conspiracy of Alla Juraša, Jurašs and the authorities."

The hotel involved in the dispute is owned by 966 Freecom Ltd., represented by lawyer Aleksandrs Berezins. He has a joint attorneys' office with Alla Juraša, wife of Saeima deputy and former anti-corruption officer Juris Jurašs (New Conservative Party).

Berezins said the company, 966 Freecom, was a victim of Gulami trying to illegally obtain the Royal Square Hotel.

A court considered the suspicion reasonable enough for Gulami to be arrested. Detention may be lifted if security of EUR 50 000 is paid within a month.

Police confirmed that the alleged criminal activities had taken place over a seven-year period between 2013 and 2020.

Berezins pointed out that the claimed damage caused amounts to around EUR 3.5 million.

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