Authorities to probe business ties of candidate for tax chief

After media reports over potential ties between Latvia's potential new tax chief Māris Skujiņš and Māris Martinsons, a businessman with a checkered past, the State Chancellery is to ask the Security Police and anti-graft office to look into the matter.

That's what Jānis Citskovskis, the head of the State Chancellery told LTV June 6.

Citskovskis said that Skujiņš had confirmed to him that he doesn't know Martinsons, nor has any business ties with him. 

Nevertheless, on June 6 the Diena and NRA.lv media portals reported that Natural Resources, a company Skujiņš owned for some time, had been co-owned by Mārtinsons in the past, according to the Firmas.lv database. The database says Skujiņš overtook the firm in March 26, 2012 and then lead it to bankruptcy, transferring his company shares to another company. 

Skujiņš said that under his ownership the company, a biogas producer, lost its operation licence and was therefore soon liquidated. 

Most recently, Skujiņš was endorsed by the Finance Minister to become head of the State Revenue Service, a stressful, high-profile job frequently under public scrutiny.

In 2016, for example, Inga Koļegova withdrew her candidacy for tax chief after being endorsed by the Finance Minister, because the tax service found she had failed to accurately describe large transactions in her declaration of assets and income. 

Māris Martinsons, a high-profile and politically connected businessman, in the past paid a fine for defrauding EU funds.

In February 2018, he was detained by the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau in an ongoing, unprecedented case in which Latvia's top banker, Bank of Latvia governor Ilmārs Rimšēvičs is being investigated on suspicion of accepting or soliciting bribes.

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