Police ask for four to be charged in Bunkus murder case

Latvian State Police said November 28 they had completed their investigation of a high-profile murder case and are asking for four people to be charged – three Latvian citizens and one Russian.  

"The investigation carried out by the State Police in the case of the murder of the insolvency administrator Mārtiņš Bunkus was successfully concluded and on November 24 of this year it was handed over to the District Prosecutor's Office of Rīga Court for the initiation of criminal prosecution against four persons," Police Said in a release.

"During the investigation, a clear picture of the circumstances of the crime and the persons involved was obtained, including the distribution of roles – from the orderer to the organizer and executor of the murder," police said, adding that the case files they had compiled extended to 121 volumes over 4 years of investigation.

During the investigation, the State Police obtained and confirmed evidence that allowed four persons to be recognized as suspects in the criminal proceedings - three citizens of the Republic of Latvia and one citizen of the Russian Federation. The four were identified only as having been born between 1953 and 1974.

Police are calling for the first suspect (born 1974) to be chared with "murder under particularly aggravating circumstances in an organized group" plus various firearms offenses and illegal disclosure of pre-trial information.

A second individual (born 1961) is suspected of incitement to commit and conceal a criminal offense, a third suspect (born 1953) is suspected of both incitement to commit and offense and aggravated murder, and a fourth suspect (born 1970) is suspected of agravated murder.

Three suspects were given a bail bond of detention, while one was given a non-custodial bail bond.

"It should be noted that in addition to this criminal trial, a decision was made to start two new criminal trials. One according to the third part of Article 195 of the Criminal Law on large-scale legalization of proceeds of crime, in an organized group, in relation to a person born in 1970, and the other according to Chapter 19 of the Criminal Law on criminal offenses in the national economy in relation to persons born in 1961 and 1953. The investigation in the separate criminal proceedings is currently ongoing," State Police said.

Police added that international cooperation also played "a significant role in the investigation of the insolvency administrator's murder," including the support of Europol. 

Though police did not name the suspects, media have previously identified three of them as business partners Mihails Uļmanis and Aleksandrs Babenko, plus Arkādijs Judins.

Police also published a video of what they said was the investigation materials being transported to the prosecutor's office in which a van with blue lights drives through Rīga's streets, plus a photograph of a filing cabinet full of files, which they said contained case materials.

As previously reported by LSM, on May 30, 2018, insolvency administrator Mārtiņš Bunkus was shot in broad daylight in his vehicle in Rīga. Though the police said they had a large amount of evidence within months, no arrests were made until four years later.

Bunkus murder investigation files

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