Latvia, Legislation, Markets and Companies, Retail, Society

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 28.11.2020, 13:13

Maxima, Rimi, Elvi , top! and Citro suspend cooperation with Adugs company suspected of human trafficking in Latvia

BC, Riga, 20.11.2020.Print version
Maxima Latvija, Rimi, Elvi Latvija, top! and Citro retailers have decided to suspend cooperation with Adugs confectionary company based on human trafficking suspicion, LETA learned from representatives of companies, reports LETA.

Maxima Latvija head Viktors Troicings said that the company values honest and transparent business, and any other business practices, violations of ethical norms and human rights are unacceptable.

Maxima Latvija reacted immediately after news reports and suspended cooperation with Adugs until an official explanation is received from state authorities and the supplier.

Rimi Latvija spokeswoman Regina Ikala said that Rimi suspends its cooperation and supplies from Adugs to all its stores in the Baltics.

"Rimi has strict corporate responsibility stance. Based on the public information about charges brought against the company, Rimi as a socially responsible company suspends purchase from Adugs," said Rimi Latvia board chairman Valdis Turlais.

Rimi said that it will not launch new campaigns with the products already delivered from Adugs, and no new agreements with be signed. The products that are already in stores will be sold to prevent creation of food waste.

Elvi Latvija commercial director Laila Vartukapteine said that Elvi Latvija has suspended product deliveries, and after selling off the current Adugs products, the stores will no more offer Adugs products to its customers.

top! retail chain representative Ilze Priedite told LETA that the retailer will not make new orders with Adugs until further information is clear about the case.

Edijs Bergmanis, commercial director of Latvian Retail Management, running Citro and Eldo stores, also said that the company has suspended cooperation with Adugs. Latvian Retail Management categorically objects and strongly condemns such violations.

As reported, last weekend. police in Latgale busted a criminal group running a human trafficking ring at a confectionary company owned by person well connected to Latgale's ''criminal and political environment''.

The State Police had received information from a foreign embassy that several employees of a confectionery company based in Latgale had reported forced labor. In response to the information, criminal proceedings were initiated in April by the State Police's Organized Crime Department for trafficking in human beings, if committed by an organized group, money laundering, if committed by an organized group, and the intentional infliction of minor bodily harm.

During the investigation, it was established that several third-country nationals have been exploited for a longer period of time in this Latgale-based confectionery company, taking advantage of their vulnerability without paying them a salary for their work in full and driving them into disproportionately large debt. The workers have been deprived of their passports, subjected to physical violence and threatened with deportation if they do not comply with all the demands of the criminal group.

Last week, on November 10, State Police officials conducted searches and detentions in Jaunjelgava Region, Livani, Aizkraukle, Daugavpils and Kekava. A total of 22 objects were searched and cash was also seized - about 150,000 euros, as well as jewelry, ammunition and other items that could be of material evidence in criminal proceedings.

That same day, police also made three arrests - the owner of the company and the leader of the criminal group (born 1955), as well as two group members (born 1974 and 1986).

The leader of the group is well connected with Latgale's criminal and political environment, and has had previous run-ins with the law for failure to pay taxes, environmental pollutions and other violations.

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