Latvian anti-graft police conclude construction cartel case

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The Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB) has ended the criminal procedure launched in 2018 on the so-called 'construction cartel', in which business representatives and state officials were suspects, but now the Competition Council will continue investigations into the case, KNAB said May 20.

KNAB reported that it received information about alleged large-scale bribe in relation to business interests, including in areas not related to procurements, and also about possible price fixing in procurements, the LETA newswire reported.

On September 19, 2018, KNAB launched a criminal procedure on large-scale bribery and abuse of official powers.

During the investigation, KNAB noted alleged violations of competition rights and informed the Competition Council about it.

During pre-trial investigation, KNAB did not obtain proof of corruption in the case and on May 10 decided to close the case against eight persons.

The Competition Council representative Maris Spicka said that irrespective of KNAB findings, the Competition Council continues its own investigation to see whether the allegations of the illegal agreement or cartel are true. The Competition Council has to make its decision by August 1.

The alleged offenses were committed in a time period between early 2015 and mid-2018. The possible sums of bribes range from EUR 25,000 to several hundreds of thousands of euros.

KNAB had a reason to believe that at least ten large construction companies had been involved.

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