Court orders officials to repay misspent funds at Riga Port

Riga Regional Court on September 20 ordered former Freeport of Riga CEO Leonids Loginovs and his deputy Aigars Pecaks to repay €856,951 worth of funds misspent at the port, the court's representative Raimonds Locmelis told LETA.

The judge also fined Loginovs €45,600 and Pecaks €34,200 for abusing their official positions.

Loginovs has to repay €207,856 and Pecaks €378,750 of the port's misspent funds and in addition they have been ordered to jointly repay €270,345.

The court also imposed on Loginovs a three-year and six months ban on holding leading positions in state and municipal institutions and enterprises, and the same ban has been imposed on Pecaks for two years and eight months.

The regional court has delivered its ruling after an appeals procedure was started in the case on May 15. The two officials had been acquitted early this year.

In January, Riga City Northern District Court completed hearing the criminal case against Freeport of Riga CEO Leonids Loginovs and his deputy Aigars Pecaks, acquitting both.

As reported, the prosecutor was seeking a fine of 120 minimum monthly wages, or €44,000, against Loginovs, as well as ban him from working in senior jobs at state and institutions and companies for a period of three years and six months.

Likewise, the prosecutor demanded a fine in the amount of 90 minimum monthly wages or €33,000 for Pecaks, plus a two-year, eight-month ban from taking senior positions at state and municipal institutions and companies.

In the criminal case, Loginovs and Pecaks were charged with abuse of power - making unlawful donations on behalf of the Freeport of Riga Authority and ordering unlawful bonuses paid to the Freeport of Riga employees. Loginovs and Pecaks both pleaded not guilty.

The criminal case was based on the State Audit Office's findings several years ago, which established that the Freeport of Riga had lost at least €573,314 as a result of unwarranted decisions by the freeport authority's officials.

The port of Riga plays a crucial role in Latvia's economy and generates huge amounts of cash. However, its internal workings are notoriously opaque and with its board consisting of political appointees, rumors of kickbacks and numerous other forms of graft are a staple of Riga's table-talk gossip.

However, Loginovs, one of the country' wealthiest individuals, for years batted away all attempts to unseat him since March 1998 when he took the post.

In summer 2016 Loginovs came into the limelight as LTV's De Facto revealed his income declaration as stating he inherited a €700,000-worth luxury car from his father, an old fisherman.

Loginovs was replaced in his post early this year by Ansis Zeltins, previously head of the Latvijas Dzelzcels national rail company.

The board of the port consists of political appointees: four from Riga City Council, and four officials, nominated by the Cabinet – the representatives nominated by the Minister of Economy, Minister of Finance, Minister of Transport and Minister of Environmental Protection.

Around 20,000 people are employed at the port, making it one of the biggest and richest institutions in the country.

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