Former diplomat in UAE named suspect in criminal case

The State Security Service (VDD, formerly known as Security Police) has named Rūdolfs Brēmanis, a former charge- d'affaires at the Latvian Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, as a suspect in a criminal case. 

As previously reported, Brēmanis came into the limelight in 2017 after he organized a dinner in Dubai, attended by president Raimonds Vējonis and high-ranking officials of the United Arab Emirates. Also in attendance was oligarch Ainārs Šlesers, whilst Vējonis claimed that he didn't know the latter would be present.

Nevertheless, while VDD is silent over the investigation, it is clear it is unrelated to the dinner, as Brēmanis had left the service by that time.

Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs did venture to say that Brēmanis lost his job in unsavory circumstances, but did not reveal further details.

"I can only say the ministry made a decision [over sacking him], based on rather serious information that had been handed to us and which had been at our disposal as well. But I can't give you more detailed comment as there's a host of questions that are being solved further," he said.

According to info found in the Enterprise Register, in December VDD arrested Brēmanis' property, with a freeze effectuated on the shares of his Middle East Latvia Holding company since last week.

VDD does not reveal any details about the case, except saying that Brēmanis has indeed been named a suspect in a criminal case.

LTV's De Facto has information that, within diplomatic circles, there has been talk about a possible embezzlement scheme involving the service apartments of the foreign service.

After leaving his job as the charge-d'affaires, Brēmanis was accused by a former employee who said that Brēmanis had made his wife strike a fictitious rental agreement.

The former employee also said that one Iftikhar Rasul Ghuman, who'd later become the Honorary Consul of Latvia in Islamabad, had rented Brēmanis an apartment in the luxurious Etihad Towers. The annual rent in these towers reaches dozens of thousands of euros. 

Other sources from Abu Dhabi say Brēmanis had asked his assistant to find potential "Honorary Consuls" who would like to buy this title from him. His former assistant did not answer De Facto's questions, saying that he's not interested in touching upon this case again.

Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs did not confirm the information obtained by De Facto, saying that the ministry is banned from revealing this. 

Asked if the case is related to service apartments, Rinkēvičs hinted that it's not the only aspect of the case.

After leaving the foreign service, Brēmanis turned to the residency permit "business", helping people obtain right of residency inside Latvia and, with that, the EU. But it's possible he had engaged in the practice while being a diplomat.

For example, the Land Register has info that in 2014 Brēmanis sold a property he had in Cēsis for €73,000, despite that its cadastral value was a mere €17,000, to Azamatjon Abdullaev, a citizen of Uzbekistan. 

De Facto learned that Brēmanis had then made a request to issue a Schengen visa to Abdullaev. 

Brēmanis did not offer comment over the investigation.

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