Russian court goes soft on Latvian man wanted for bribery

Germans Milušs, a man whom Latvia has been trying to get sentenced on bribery charges for years, has recently been handed very mild sentences for the crime in Russia, reported LTV's De Facto August 19.

Late last year, a Moscow district court admitted the Latvian court ruling that Milušs has to spend five years behind bars, in a Russian prison, for his role in a bribery case concerning the 2005 local elections in Jūrmala, Latvia.

As Milušs did not attend court meetings in Russia - not surprising, as he has a track record of escaping the law - he was put under an international arrest warrant following the court ruling and was subsequently spotted by traffic police.

He spent just one month in prison after launching a successful appeal, with the appeal judge quickly finding reasons to alleviate the penalty.

"The penalty shall be forced labor in [Milušs'] current place of employment, and 10% of his wages are to be transferred to the state budget," the court ruling said.

LTV concludes that, in lieu of a five-year term, Milušs will transfer part of what he has earned to the Russian state budget. The court also ruled that his property should not be confiscated for committing such a crime.

Milušs' listed place of employment is the Kredit Ekspress bank, which had its license lifted for money laundering violations in spring.

His lawyer, meanwhile, is one Andrei Pavlov, who is on the so-called Magnitsky list, and it is held that he was the one who came up with a multi-million dollar scheme revealed by Sergei Magnitsky, after which Magnitsky was charged and died in prison.

It is not clear what Latvia can do in this situation. The Justice Ministry may ask Russia's court prosecution authorities to launch an appeal and point out errors made on the part of Russian courts over the ruling.

Meanwhile Latvia's Citizenship and Migration Affairs Office (PMLP) has started a case over revoking Milušs' Latvian citizenship. It is not year clear when and if this could become official. 

In 2007, Zemgale Regional Court found car dealer Miluss, former Jurmala mayor Juris Hlevickis and candidate councilor Gvido Harijs Volburgs guilty of attempted bribery. The above persons had tried to bribe Jurmala City Council member Ilmars Ancans in order to secure his vote in Hlevickis’ favor in Jurmala’s local elections.

Hlevickis and Miluss were sentenced to five years behind bars and Volburgs received a three-year suspended prison term.

Miluss was absent from his sentencing in court, and his whereabouts until this time remained unknown.

In March 2015, Miluss was put on the international manhunt system. Latvia’s TV3 commercial TV channel reported that same year that Miluss was living in Russia and has probably become a Russian citizen.

He most recently cropped up in Cyprus last year, where he was arrested on an international warrant but nevertheless managed to escape after being given the chance to do so. 

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