Rīga Central Market terminates agreement with tenant over “cigarette mafia” case

Rīga City Council announced on November 28 that the Riga Central Market, which it controls, has terminated its tenancy agreement with the company Tirdzniecības nams Latgales priekšpilsēta (Latgale Suburb Trading House) after several searches were conducted on their premises related to the illicit trafficking of cigarettes. They have until January 13 to evacuate the territory.

Rīga City Council Chair and Riga Central Market shareholder Oļegs Burovs (Honor to Serve Riga) said that if the tenant delays moving out, municipal forces will assist them and retrogressively seek compensation from the former tenant.

“All future Central Market tenancy agreements will include a point that the market can break the agreement at any time if law enforcement agencies establish a violation,” said Burovs.

As previously reported, the Riga Central Market was searched on November 21 and several people were arrested, according to the State Police. LTV adds that the market’s Internal Security Department Director Maksims Danovskis was also searched. He was appointed to the board only a week earlier.

Police Representative Simona Gravīte responded to Latvian Radio writing that the law enforcement activity is related to illicit trafficking of excise goods. More than 80 searches were conducted and several people were detained.

After the searches LTV's investigative journalism program Forbidden Method (Aizliegtais Paņēmiens) has released another notable scoop after conducting a six-month operation in which reporters infiltrated the Riga Central Market's illicit cigarette mafia, releasing the first of several episodes covering the 12,000-euro-per-month operation on November 25.

The undercover operation was undertaken with the help of the State Police Rīga Regional Criminal Police Department.

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