Food company boss remanded in custody over human trafficking allegations

The Riga Regional Court on Wednesday,  December 9 remanded Jāzeps Zukuls, the board chairman of confectionery company Adugs, accused of alleged human trafficking, in custody, the LETA newswire reported.

The Criminal Procedure Law states that arrest may be applied only if specific information, acquired in criminal proceedings, regarding facts causes justified suspicions that a person has committed a criminal offence regarding which the law provides for a punishment of deprivation of liberty, and the application of another security measure may not ensure that the person will not commit another criminal offence, will not hinder or will not avoid the pre-trial criminal proceedings, court, or the execution of a judgment.

As previously reported, Zukuls was detained in early November, and later the Riga Vidzeme District court ruled his arrest.

A police investigation found that Adugs had exploited third-country nationals for a long time, not paying them wages, depriving them of their passports, and subjecting them to physical and psychological violence.

The Latvian police launched the investigation after receiving information from a foreign embassy about possible forced labor at the confectionery company.

The company has strenuously denied the allegations, insisting that all workers were employed on proper contracts. Nevertheless, several major retail companies, including Maxima Latvija, Rimi, Elvi, Top! and Citro have since suspended cooperation with Adugs.

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