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Former chair and 2 current employees of Central Election Commission charged with embezzlement

The prosecutor’s office has brought charges against a former chairperson and two current employees of the Central Election Commission (CVK) in a large-scale embezzlement case, LETA was told at the prosecutor’s office.

According to a statement to the press released by the Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB) and LETA’s earlier reports, KNAB has obtained sufficient evidence to suggest that a representative of SOAAR IT company with support from two current and one former CVK official embezzled a large sum of CVK budget funds. As a result of the criminal actions, the election authority suffered a loss of at least EUR 149,920.

The evidence obtained by KNAB shows that the entrepreneur with former CVK head Kristine Berzina’s support allegedly carried out actions to ensure that the IT company in question, as a result of the procurement negotiation procedure, obtained the right to provide services related to election management systems for the 2021 municipal elections.

The investigation established that the entrepreneur provided false information about the services the company was going to provide for the CVK and consequently received payment from the CVK for work not actually carried out. The CVK employees involved in the deal signed falsified documentation, knowing the consequences of the illegal actions initiated by the contractor.

The pre-trial investigation has not revealed any facts that would call into question the legitimacy of the 2021 municipal elections.

The KNAB opened the criminal probe on November 7, 2022.

Former CVK head Berzina is facing criminal charges for abuse of office which has caused serious consequences, aiding and abetting large-scale fraud and falsifying official documents. The businessman is facing prosecution for large-scale fraud, and the current CVK employees for aiding and abetting large-scale fraud and falsifying official documents.

Information available on the website of the Procurement Monitoring Bureau shows that in June 2021 the CVK awarded SOAAR a contract worth EUR 275,370 for the upgrading of the election management system and the provision of technical support for the 2021 municipal council elections.

In April of the same year, the company was awarded a contract worth EUR 154,802 for the upgrading of the election management system, technical support for the preparation of electoral lists and ballot papers and user support for the 2021 municipal elections.

According to information available at Firmas.lv, SOAAR belongs in equal parts to Renars Kadzulis and Leonards Survillo. The company posted EUR 1.12 million in turnover and a profit of EUR 675,000 for 2020, but data for the following years are not available.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)

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