Central Market boss accused of bribe taking

Anatolijs Abramovs, head of the Rīga Municipal company "Rīgas Centrāltirgus" (RCT), has been accused of possible bribe taking, reported Latvian Television Wednesday.

As well as being the Latvian capital's favorite destination for groceries, the vast Zeppelin hangars and brick warehouses in which the Central Market is housed are among Riga's most famous tourist destinations.

The Prosecutor General's Office said that according to prosecutor Viktorija Šumska, on May 18 the head of RCT has been accused of bribe taking, releasing information obtained during criminal proceedings, as well as illegally storing ammunition.

A hitherto unnamed entrepreneur has also been accused of bribery and bookkeeping violations.

Previously the Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB) reported that in early May it sent a case to the Rīga District Prosecutor's Office, concerning bribe taking by a Rīga municipal company official, possibly Abramovs, in the form of a fuel purchase card issued in the name of a certain company.

The bribe was given in return for making a tender with favorable rules for the company, which was subsequently awarded the tender.

According to the investigation, the bribe was given from company funds, and bookkeeping records were falsified to hide the crime.

Investigators also uncovered that the official, possibly Abramovs, released information obtained during criminal proceedings and stored ammunition without a licence.

Last summer KNAB conducted searches at several locations of the market, including the office of Abramovs. 

It's not the first time a RCT boss has attracted the attention of KNAB, with the anti-graft force swooping in 2008 to arrest Abromovs' predecessor, Naina Cibulska, on bribery and money laundering charges.

RTC in 2014 generated 7.101 million euros in sales, up 1.4 percent from 2013, while the company's profit rose 40.4 percent to 219,800 euros.

Riga Central Market, established in 1930, has been operating as a municipal joint-stock company since 1995. The company comprises the central market, as well as marketplaces in Riga's Agenskalns and Vidzeme districts. The company's sole owner is Riga City Council.

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