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Nicolas de Chamfort
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Corruption watchdog goes after officials of Riga Tourism Development Bureau

Фото: facebook.com/KNAB LV
Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) has commenced a criminal process against Riga City Council’s foundation Riga Tourism Development Bureau’s (RTDB) officials for wasting budget funds, forging documents, using forged documents and fraud.

As confirmed by the bureau, the criminal process was commenced 5 April 2019 in close cooperation with State Audit. It is reported that KNAB arrived at RTDB office on 13 May.
 

At the same time, criminal procedures are being performed in Germany, Sweden and Spain.
 

Investigators say active investigation continues in the criminal process. More detailed information will be reported once it is safe to do.
 

As previously reported, State Audit has performed an audit, investigating the use of funding provided by Riga City Council to its foundations and associations. Auditors concluded that over the course of three years Riga municipality has wasted more than EUR 20 million through its associations and foundations.
 

In its audit of Riga municipality’s provided grants to associations and foundations State Audit focused mainly on two foundations – Riga Tourism Development Bureau of Riga.lv, as of the audit’s total surveyed amount of EUR 26.5 million allocated by the municipality for associations and foundations, EUR 20.9 million was received by those two organizations.
 

The audit revealed that the municipality had provided Riga Tourism Development Bureau the amount they had requested even without any explanations. Between 2016 and 2018 the bureau received EUR 17 million from the municipality. The largest portion of this money was invested in promotion of two trademarks – Live Riga and Meet Riga. Neither is owned by the municipality or the foundations. Instead they are owned by Air Baltic Corporation and are currently pledged off.
 

Although statutes state the municipality is supposed to approve Riga.lv budget, this was not done in 2016, 2017 or 2018. On top of that, Riga.lv financial reports detail false financial data.
 

KNAB reminds that no one is considered guilty until their guilt is proven in accordance with the law.

BNN

13-05-2019
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