Latvia's anti-corruption squad starts digging at roads agency

The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) on October 1 detained Edgars Strods, a board member of the Latvijas Valsts Ceļi (Latvian State Roads, LVC) state road agency, according to information at the disposal of the LETA newswire.

KNAB officials also searched Strods' office.

A statement from KNAB did not name Strods, but said it was conducting urgent criminal proceedings, including no fewer than 15 court-authorized searches, and that two people had been detained.

"Such action has been taken on the basis of suspicions of alleged offenses committed by a public official in connection with the organization of public procurement in the road construction sector and failure to comply with the restrictions imposed on a public official," KNAB said.

Criminal proceedings were initiated on June 27, 2019 for the offenses of money laundering, failing to file an official declaration and violating the restrictions imposed on a public official, KNAB added. 

"The facts at the disposal of the KNAB indicate that an official of the State Joint Stock Company “Latvijas Valsts ceļi” in 2017 and 2018 allegedly misused a position due to greed and at the same time provided other persons - potential bidders - with information relating to planned purchases by the State Joint Stock Company for the maintenance and renovation of highways," the anti-corruption agency said.

LVC, established in 2004, belongs to the Latvian state. According to the LVC annual report, the company manages 20,081 kilometers of state roads, handles the state road network's financing, manages and controls related works, organizes tenders for public contracts, as well as manages and supervises road construction programs.

Strods has been a board member since 2013.

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