The police got on the trail of the money launderers in late December as they were investigating unlawful use of third parties' payment data. It became clear to the police that money laundering is involved, and that the five people involved had been doing it for several years, working up somewhat of a notoriety in this area.
Their services, the police say, had been used by legally operating companies in diverse areas such as waste management and services.
"They had worked out the system and the scheme very smartly. It was difficult to identify it at first glance. The deals that involved legalizing funds are difficult to check but to date we have succeeded collecting enough materials and facts," said police rep Egils Jefremovs.
The scheme involved 18 companies in Latvia as well as Estonia and Poland. Homeless people were involved, setting up bank accounts which were then emptied.
33 searches were carried out in Rīga, Daugavpils and Viļaka. In addition to documents and payment cards, two weapons, drugs, as well as contraband alcohol and cigarettes and even five tons of diesel fuel were confiscated.
Should the suspected money launderers be found guilty, they are facing a prison sentence of up to 12 years.