Rīga tourism bureau officials released from detention

The Rīga Tourism Development Bureau’s (RTAB) board member Vita Jermoloviča, whom the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) detained on May 13, was released from a short-term detention facility on May 15, her lawyer Raivo Klotiņš told LETA.

LETA has also learned that Inguna Priedīte, head of the RTAB office, was also released after a brief detention.

The release of Jermoloviča and Priedīte means that KNAB has not asked court to remand them in custody.

It is not clear what measure of security might be imposed on Jermoloviča and Priedīte. KNAB would not comment on the matter for now.

In 2018, RTAB turned over €6.17 million and made a €606,973 profit.

On May 13 anti-graft officers carried out searches at the office of suspended Rīga mayor Nils Ušakovs (Harmony), as well as the premises of the council’s foreign affairs administration and councilor Maksims Tolstojs’ (Harmony) office – Tolstojs is also a board member at the tourism entity.

This was part of a criminal probe started against RTAB officials for embezzlement of budget funds, counterfeiting of documents and use of counterfeit documents, as well as fraud

The KNAB also said that criminal proceedings are being conducted in Germany, Sweden and Spain.

The searches coincided with the release of a damning State Audit office report that found around €21 million of municipal funds had been wasted or misappropriated within three years. 

In the audit, the State Audit Office focused on two bodies in particular: the Rīga Tourism Development Bureau and the "riga.lv" web portal.

The Rīga City Council owns 70% of the Rīga Tourism Development Bureau. 

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