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Corruption squad files case against Riga officials

Latvia's Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) announced Wednesday it intended to bring a criminal case against officials in Riga's powerful Housing Department on suspicion of taking substantial bribes over a long period of time.

“KNAB has sent materials to the Prosecutor General based on an investigation launched in September 2012 with a request to prosecute Riga City Council Housing and Environment Department officials for alleged criminal offenses in connection with municipal housing rental rights to the city of Riga. In total, KNAB seeks to prosecute four individuals,” a statement said.

Documents submitted to prosecutors by KNAB contain numerous charges relating to the acceptance of bribes, illegal disclosure of confidential information and the falsification of documents.

The four individuals are not named but a scandal in the Housing Department first broke in September 2012, when KNAB raided its offices amid allegations that officials were taking bribes to jump waiting lists, allowing tenants the right to buy or rent apartments.

Housing Department manager Arija Stabina was charged with corruption offences in May 2013 but disappeared soon afterwards and is still on the run, most probably outside Latvia. 

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