Murder of insolvency administrator could be linked to missing person case

Mārtiņš Bunkus, the insolvency administrator recently murdered in the Latvian capital, was linked to the construction business figure Andris Bojārs through an insolvency process, reported LTV's De Facto June 17. Bojārs went missing late last November after leaving his apartment in central Rīga. Police say the fates of the two may be linked. 

Lawyer Sergejs Lukašins, who was the insolvency administrator of Bojārs' AB Build company, said that the businessman ceased all communication after November 27 and went missing soon after, leaving his passport and documents at home. "It's as if he had planned to pop out for five minutes," said Lukašins. 

Police are now treating the case as murder, but they are willing to share only a few details.

"From the materials and facts at our disposal, it could very well be that [murder] is the case," said State Police representative Andrejs Grišins.

While Bojārs has been missing for more than six months, Grišins says investigation in such cases can last for years. 

Several sources suggested to De Facto that Bojārs' disappearance may be linked to his apartment building business. He bought houses in central Rīga and sold them to foreigners who could get residency permits in exchange for investment into Latvia.

A few years ago Bojārs found himself a partner, the Russian citizen Andrei Shalapin. Both were ready to embark on a multi-million project - building an apartment complex in Jūrmala. But then Bojārs and Shalapin became estranged and started fighting for the ownership of the property via insolvency proceedings. Shalapin's interests in the proceedings were represented by the recently murdered lawyer Mārtiņš Bunkus.

A lawyer from Bunkus' office prompted the State Revenue Service to carry out a tax audit in Bojārs' companies. Bojārs, in his turn, managed to have disciplinary proceedings started against the service's chief tax controller Sandra Kārkliņa-Ādmine. She was not in any way punished, however.

Bojārs met Bunkus eye to eye in meetings between the creditors of Buvnieks LV, the company which owned the Ceriņu street property. The protocol of these meetings says that there were loud debates between Bunkus and Bojārs over questions unrelated to the meetings.

Nevertheless in early 2017 the parties came to an agreement. Bojārs' Ceriņu Apartments firm remained the owner of the property in Jūrmala, while several apartments, worth a total €850,000 went to Immocomfort.lv, a company not linked in any way to Bojārs' former partner Shalapin. 

A lawyer familiar with the aforementioned row told De Facto that, in the end, the Russian investor didn't have anything to show for his money. One of the apartments was given to the Adelo Commerce company, linked to Jekaterina Galuška, a lawyer at Bunkus' firm. 

If it's true Bojārs and Bunkus had left the Russian businessman empty-handed, the disappearance and the murder could be linked.

"We are considering the possibility there are things in common between the cases," said Andrejs Grišins. 

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