LTV: Valmiera mayor involved in construction cartel case

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Six people have a right of defense in the construction cartel case, including the mayor of the booming Valmiera town in northern Latvia,  and senior figures at some of the country's largest building contractors, according to LTV. 

LTV's De facto reported September 9 that former Skonto būve owners Guntis Rāvis and Ivars Millers are among the defendants. Rāvis' lawyer confirmed this.

Meanwhile LNK Group board chairman Artjoms Milovs might also be involved in the case, but his lawyer Jānis Rozenbergs refused to comment the investigation.

Armands Garkāns, the co-owner of the Arčers and Binders companies, denied that he has been accused of anything. 

Māris Martinsons, a high-profile businessman, is likewise among the accused.

Meanwhile Jānis Baiks (New Unity party), the mayor of Valmiera, the only politician involved in the case so far told De facto that the proceedings started against him are baseless. 

As reported, former President Raimonds Vējonis was named a witness in the same criminal case investigated by the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau. 

The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau on September 19, 2018, started a criminal procedure on large-scale graft, abuse of authorities in the construction sector. The Competition Council, meanwhile, is investigating an alleged breach of the Competition Law, an illegal cartel agreement. 

In early September 2019 both institutions raided the offices of several construction companies and state officials. The anti-graft office reported that at least ten largest construction companies have been involved in the crimes.

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