Latvian corruption watchdog detains another ex-official of Riga’s tourism bureau

On Tuesday, 26 May, Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) detained Riga City Deputy and ex-board member of Riga Tourism Development Bureau (RTDB) Maksims Tolstojs.

Tolstojs had been absent from Latvia since 14 May due to his official visit to Russia. He had also submitted a sick leave paper to KNAB.

On 13 May, KNAB performed investigative activities, including more than a dozen searches at different addresses. Officers also confiscated documents, data storage devices, as well as excise goods missing excise labels. Searches were performed in Latvia, Germany, Sweden and Spain.

Investigators report having facts that state how foundation Riga Tourism Development Agency (RTDB) officials may have wasted finances in large amounts by signing fictive partnership contracts, employing fictive employees, forging documents and using forged documents, as well as defrauding large amounts of finances. Initial estimates show that as a result of illegal activities the budget suffered losses worth no less than EUR 300 000. The exact extent of financial damages will be clarified soon.

Tracks of the crime lead to foreign countries. This means KNAB now has to send several investigation requests to European member states, as well as several assistance requests, which could extend the investigation.

KNAB also detained then RTDB board member Vita Jermoloviča and RTDB office head Inguna Priedīte. She was released from custody two days later. On 16 May KNAB announced that a security measure was applied to her – the prohibition to take post, travel from the country and approach certain people. Both Jermoloviča and Tolstojs later submitted their resignations.

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