Corruption, Latvia, Legislation, Transport

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 01.04.2023, 19:17

Corruption Prevention Bureau probing corruption in 3 Rigas Satiksme tenders

BC, Riga, 14.12.2018.Print version
The criminal probe started by the Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB) against Rigas Satiksme is related to three tenders organized by the municipal transport company, LETA was told at the corruption-prevention bureau.

KNAB representatives said that the bureau’s investigators are probing suspected bribery and money laundering in connection with these three Rigas Satiksme tenders.

One of these tenders was organized in 2016 to purchase low-deck trams for EUR 62,597,477, KNAB representatives said. Information from LETA Archive shows that the tender to supply the 20 tram cars to Rigas Satiksme was awarded to the Czech company Skoda Transportation.

The other tender was held in 2013 to purchase 125 new trolleybuses for EUR 131,646,135. That tender was won by the Czech company Skoda Electric.

The third tender, organized in 2013, was about the rights to supply 175 new passenger buses to Rigas Satiksme for EUR 75,808,297. The tender was won by Poland’s Solaris Bus&Coach company, which is expected to deliver the last buses in 2019.

According to information provided by KNAB, representatives of the Czech and Polish companies had agreed with officials of Riga City Council and managers of Rigas Satiksme to use services of several individuals, involved in money laundering operations, to ensure cash flows allowing to pay bribes through various real and fake first to officials of Riga City Council and managers of Rigas Satiksme in order to secure the desirable results in these tenders.

The KNAB representatives added that the Latvian anti-corruption bureau started cooperating with foreign colleagues on this investigation slightly more than a year ago when KNAB informed Poland’s anti-corruption agency (CBA) and other partner services about particular persons’ possibly unlawful activities. The services took coordinated action to check the facts.

As reported, KNAB is currently conducting a criminal investigation into allegedly corruptive procurement deals of Rigas Satiksme. The investigation was started in November and has been conducted in collaboration with Poland’s anti-corruption agency (CBA).

This week, six persons were held in Latvia and two in Poland in connection with the probe. The Latvian court already ruled to leave in custody Igors Volkinsteins, director of the Rigas Satiksme infrastructure maintenance and development department, businessman Maris Martinsons and Skoda Transportation manager Vladislavs Kozaks.

Although KNAB is not giving more details about the ongoing investigation, the anti-corruption agency’s representatives revealed that the case is about an EUR 800,000 bribe that some of the people detained in Riga had helped to hide. The bribery case in related to the delivery of nearly 200 buses to Riga city. Rigas Satiksme organized the bus tender from 2013 to 2016.

A representative of the Polish anti-corruption agency said that the EUR 800,000 bribe had to be paid in small installments as fees for fictitious consulting services through a number of firms registered in Latvia, Cyprus, Hong Kong and China before they reached Riga.

In 2016, Poland’s Solaris Bus&Coach won a tender to supply hydrogen-powered transport vehicles to Rigas Satiksme for EUR 21,499,670, excluding VAT.

Velve, a construction firm associated with detained businessman Martinsons, is involved in building Rigas Satiksme hydrogen filling stations.

In 2016, Rigas Satiksme also concluded a EUR 62.59 mln deal with Skoda Transportation on the purchase of 20 low-deck trams.

In 2013, Rigas Satiksme awarded Skoda Electric a EUR 131.64 mln contract on the purchase of 125 trolleybuses.

Search site