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Corruption watchdog suspected of leaking information about businessman Martinsons’ associates

Māris Martinsons/skaties.lv.
It is entirely possible that information regarding businessman Māris Martinsons’ associates had been leaked from Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau, impeding the investigation of the ‘builders’ case’ and the case launched against Bank of Latvia governor Ilmārs Rimšēvičs, as reported by Diena.


The newspaper reports that two CPCB operatives Jānis Miķelsons and Modris Briška are well-acquainted with the accountant featured in Martinsons’ case – Anta Dišereite. Diena has published a photo that depicts the three people together on vacation. Miķelsons is in civil marriage with Dišeraite. Diena allows that those ties were used for the information leak.
 

According to unofficial information, the wiretapping that helped gather evidence in the case against Rimšēvičs and Martinsons took place at Taureņi bathhouse outside of Riga’s borders in Babīte direction. «There the suspects held regular secret meetings with politicians representing Riga City Council’s ruling powers and opposition parties».
 

Diena allows that Rimšēvičs and Martinsons were not arrested several years ago because the two operatives involved in the case – Miķelsons and Briška – were acquainted with Dišereite, who is involved in another criminal case launched against Martinsons. Similar to him, Dišereite was made a suspect in the so-called ‘builders case’. As part of its investigation, Finance Police had performed a search in July 2014 and had detained a person suspected of tax fraud and money laundering. According to Diena, results of this investigation may have been better, had there been no information leak.
 

According to Finance Police, Miķelsons’ civil wife Dišereite was responsible for compiling financial schemes. Investigators believed that the real beneficiary of those schemes was Martinsons. Last summer the prosecutor’s office separated a new criminal process against Martinsons and sent the case for an additional investigation.
 

Months of wiretapping conversations and trailing suspects had basically accounted for nothing when Dišereite, whose conversations were being recorded, warned several participants of the scheme in 2013. Although Finance Police did end up performing a search in businesses associated with Martinsons and recovering sufficient evidence in the process half a year later, investigators found that the computer used by the accountant of some large construction company had disappeared. The safe believed to have contained large amounts of cash and other evidence had been emptied before investigators could get to it. It was later that investigators found out that the night prior to the search boxes and bags of evidence had been moved to some address in Old Riga, Kungu Street.
 

According to Diena, 2013 was when it became known for the first time outside the small circle of officers in CPCB that the bureau had been engaged in an investigation of multiple politicians and businessmen associated with Martinsons. Former CPCB investigator Juris Jurašs told LETA that no arrests were performed in 2013 because it was necessary to gather additional evidence.
 

Diena managed to acquire official confirmation to words from anonymous sources that initially Miķelsons was responsible for the case. Later, however, to formally prevent a conflict of interests with Dišereite, the case was passed on to Briška, which, however, «did not help reduce the risk of information leak».
 

«Please understand – I cannot comment anything without revealing identities of operatives,» CPCB Chief Jēkabs Straume said a few months ago, when he was asked to comment on the photo depicting one of the suspects in Martinsons case together with Miķelsons and Briška. Some months later, during a press-conference detailing the situation with Rimšēvičs’ and Martinsons’ detainment, Straume was asked if his subordinates’ possible relationships with one of the suspects in the case could potentially put at risk the investigation. He said he has no such information regarding this matter.

BNN/LETA

06-07-2018
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