Police search Rīga Transport offices over fraud

Rīgas Satiksme (Rīga Transport) municipal public transport company's offices are being searched by the police, the company's representative Baiba Bartasevica-Feldmane confirmed to LETA October 1. 

Bartasevica-Feldmane said she had no information as to why the searches were being conducted.

Latvian Radio reports that State Police reps arrived at the Rīgas satiksme office on Vestienas street 35 at 10 a.m. and carried out "processual actions" at the legal affairs office of the company. 

"I can't tell you whether you could call it a search," said Rīgas satiksme press secretary Viktors Zaķis. 

No employees have been detained, said Zaķis. He later criticized the move.

"It's not the first time we see searches that are left unexplained for a long time. This is one of these. It's surprising, as nothing testifies to that there may be anything [illegal] in our operations, but any of these unexpected things carries a moment of uncertainty with it," said Zaķis.

Meanwhile Rīga mayor Nils Ušakovs (Harmony) was quick to single out it as a pre-election move. 

"There's nothing known officially. We learned that there's something going on at the company from the media. They seem to have been informed faster than the Rīga municipality. It'd be strange to comment a search that takes place four days before the election. I would like to encourage the State Police to stick to political neutrality," said Ušakovs 

Meanwhile Pēteris Bauska, head of the Department for Economic Crime Prevention at the State Police said that a criminal investigation over large-scale fraud in the company has been started, but the police did not reveal any further details. 

The police confirmed that no one working at the company has been detained or named a suspect. They stressed that the search is not politically motivated. 

This is not the first time that the law has set sights on the Rīgas satiksme company, which is in charge of managing a vast transportation network across Rīga. 

Four people were charged in late 2017 over the so-called "nano-water" case, in which Rīgas satiksme procured supposedly high-end cleaning supplies for more than €700,000 in public money. 

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