Court keeps Rīgas satiksme scandal suspects in custody

The Riga District Court on Friday ordered Riga municipal transportation company Rīgas satiksme infrastructure development director Igors Volkinšteins to remain in custody.

The court ruling cannot be appealed.

Volkinšteins was taken into custody on December 12 for his involvement in the Rīgas satiksme corruption scandal.

Likewise, the court ordered Leons Bemhens, the former head of Rīgas satiksme, to remain in custody.

As reported, the Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB) is currently conducting a criminal investigation into allegedly corruptive procurement deals of Rīgas satiksme. The investigation was started in November and has been conducted in collaboration with Poland’s anti-corruption agency (CBA).

Earlier this month, six persons were held in Latvia and two in Poland in connection with the probe.

Although KNAB is not giving more details about the ongoing investigation, the anti-corruption agency’s representatives revealed that the case is about an €800,000 bribe that some of the people detained in Rīga had helped to hide. The bribery case in related to the delivery of nearly 200 buses to Riga city. Rīgas satiksme organized the bus tender from 2013 to 2016.

A representative of the Polish anti-corruption agency said that the €800,000 bribe had to be paid in small installments as fees for fictitious consulting services through a number of firms registered in Latvia, Cyprus, Hong Kong and China before they reached Riga.

In 2016, Poland’s Solaris Bus&Coach won a tender to supply hydrogen-powered transport vehicles to Rīgas satiksme for €21,499,670, excluding VAT.

In 2016, Rīgas satiksme also concluded a €62.59 million deal with Skoda Transportation on the purchase of 20 low-deck trams.

In 2013, Rīgas satiksme awarded Skoda Electric a €131.64 million contract on the purchase of 125 trolleybuses.

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