Bribe in LU vice-rector’s criminal case may be tied to LU House of Letters project

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The bribery in Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau’s (KNAB) criminal process in which vice-rector of University of Latvia (LU) Baiba Broka and businessmen Guntis Rāvis and Ivars Millers have been detained may be associated with LU Academic Centre’s House of Letters project, according to information from LETA.

The procurement for the construction of LU House of Letters was announced in spring 2018. The winner was sought in the tended through negotiations. The initial contract price was EUR 33 million.

The tender’s first stage was open, and seven companies had applied. Only some of them had made it to the second stage (the actual number is kept in secret). Initial price offers were too high, prompting the university to review projects with new offers following soon after. On Thursday, 11 July, it is planned to open up clarified offers. The university hopes a winner will be picked in a week’s time, said deputy rector for infrastructure development affairs Edīte Megne.

Megne noted that the university is not completely clear as to which of the procurements the criminal process is associated with – the situation is made unclear by KNAB’s public statements in regards to the people involved in the criminal process.

Megne said Skonto būve had taken part in the first stage of the tender, but she did not say if the company passed the first stage and if it remains among the contenders in the House of Letters construction project.

Guntis Rāvis owns 95% of shares in Skonto būve and Ivars Millers owns 5% of shares, according to information from Firmas.lv.

KNAB had previously reported information regarding while in a post of deputy chairperson of a procurement committee, some state official may have acted in the interest of some businessmen. The investigator said facts uncovered during the investigation allow for the assumption that the state official had accepted a bribe, registering it as a donation to some association. The possible size of the bribe reaches EUR 20 000. LETA is aware the possible bribe was registered as a donation to Broka’s let Latvian Biathlon Federation.

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