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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 23.10.2021, 19:47

Latvian company may face prosecution for giving EUR 2.26 million bribe to Belarusian official

BC, Riga, 02.12.2020.Print version
The Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB) has asked the Prosecutor General's Office to prosecute a Latvian-registered company for giving a multi-million bribe to a Belarusian state official and tax evasion, informs LETA.

Evidence obtained during the pre-trial investigation suggests that an employee of an information technology (IT) company, acting in the company's interests, paid EUR 2,262,339 in total to a Belarusian state official from 2011 to 2016 in exchange for taking decisions in the Latvian-registered company's favor, LETA was told at KNAB.

Valerijs Varna, head of TietoEVRY Latvia, admitted in a statement to the media that KNAB is probing the Latvian-registered company Tieto Latvia in connection with the bribery case.

The investigation has established that the IT company's employee concluded fictitious services agreements on behalf of the company so that the bribes could be transferred to the Belarusian official.

As a result of the fictitious transactions, the Latvian-registered legal entity avoided paying corporate income tax, causing a loss of EUR 512,741 to the state budget.

According to Varna's statement, the investigation is related to a bribery case, which took place in Belarus in 2016 and involved a Tieto Latvia employee who in 2018 was convicted of bribery in Belarus. The case concerned the employee as an individual, not the company. In May 2019, KNAB started an investigation against Tieto Latvia as a legal entity.

Since TietoEVRY has not received any official information, it cannot comment on the public allegations, the company said in the statement, stressing that TietoEVRY is strictly against any unethical activities or malicious business practices, the company said.

This past summer, Finland's TietoEVRY merged its Latvian enterprises Tieto Latvia and Evry Latvia one company under the name of TietoEVRY Latvia. 


KNAB deputy head for investigation matters Ineta Cirule indicated that KNAB has taken into consideration OECD recommendations on the necessity to clamp down more actively on businesses and individual employees involved in bribery in foreign countries and most likely also other criminal activities.

The prosecutor's office now has to decide on pressing charges in the bribery case.

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