Court acquits everybody in so-called second digital TV case

  • 2022-01-31
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The Economic Affairs Court today acquitted everybody who had been charged in the so-called second digital TV case.

Economic Affairs Court judge Kaspars Vecozols told the press after reading the verdict that all persons were charged with a large-scale fraud in a group, and, in order to detect such a crime, there should be a victim and losses caused under deceit. The court materials suggested that Tet (formerly Lattelecom) company was the victim in the case, but the company itself did not admit loses. Former and current officials who were interrogated in the case said that they had been deceived when signing the agreement and there had been no loss caused to the society.

Thus, there had been no reason to find the charged persons guilty, the judge said.

The full verdict will be available on February 24, but the judge said that more time might be needed to prepare it.

This decision still can be appealed before the Riga Regional Court.

Prosecutor Movids Zelcs demanded a jail term of three years and confiscation of property for ex-prime minister Andris Skele and a fine of EUR 65,000 for former transport minister Ainars Slesers.

The prosecutor said earlier that Skele should be found guilty of fraud and money laundering. The sentencing sought by the prosecutor includes three years in jail, a fine of EUR 75,000 and confiscation of property. The fine would be imposed for fraud, while the jail term and confiscation of property would be the punishment for money laundering. As LETA reported, Skele's shares in various companies have already been arrested.

The prosecutor has also asked the court to order a repayment of EUR 1,266,355 worth of proceeds from criminal activity.

The prosecutor also asked the court to find Slesers guilty of fraud and fine him with EUR 65,000.

The prosecutor was also seeking a fine of EUR 75,000 for former Tet CEO Juris Gulbis, a fine of EUR 60,000 for former Transport Ministry state secretary Nils Freivalds, a fine of EUR 75,000 for Lauris Dripe the former head of the Latvian State Radio and Television Center (LVRTC), and a fine of EUR 75,000 for Gintars Kavacis, a former board member of Hannu Digital.

The prosecutor also requested a fine of EUR 60,000 for former Tet manager Janis Ligers, a fine of EUR 50,000 for former Tet manager Toms Abele and a fine of EUR 45,000 for former Tet manager Toms Meisitis.

As reported, charges in the second digital TV case have been pressed over activities connected with a tender for the provision of digital terrestrial television, organized by the Transport Ministry in 2008, and the contracts concluded between Tet, Hannu Digital and LVRTC as a result of the tender.

The prosecution says that the defendants' activities were aimed at illegally involving Hannu Digital in the deal to enable the company to obtain several million euros from Tet, which unreasonably increased the costs of the digital TV project.

The prosecution estimated the illegal proceeds at around EUR 3 million.

The Riga Regional Court is still hearing the so-called first digital TV case related with events dating back to 2003. Skele's name has been mentioned also in this case, but charges had not been pressed against him.