First instance court slaps real jail term on former central bank president Rimsevics

  • 2023-12-20
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The Riga District Court in Jurmala today found former President of the Bank of Latvia Ilmars Rimsevics guilty in a bribery case and sentenced him to a real prison term.

Rimsevics was sentenced to six years in prison and probation supervision for one year. The court also ordered confiscation of Rimsevics' property, including several real estate properties.

The verdict can still be appealed to the Riga Regional Court.

Earlier, Rimsevics and the other defendant in the case, businessman Maris Martinsons, said they did not admit guilt and that their guilt had not been proven during the trial.

Rimsevics and Martinsons were detained by the Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB) in February 2018. The Prosecutor General's Office charged Rimsevics with bribery and Martinsons with facilitation of bribery.

Rimsevics was charged with accepting a bribe - a paid holiday trip - as well as accepting a monetary bribe. He is also charged with money laundering. Rimsevics has repeatedly denied guilt of the offences against him.

Viorika Jirgena, the supervising prosecutor, said earlier that the KNAB opened the case following an application by two representatives of Trasta Komercbanka (TKB). Both of them are listed as bribe-payers in the case, but have been released from criminal liability because they voluntarily contacted law enforcement authorities with information about it. According to LETA's sources, the persons in question are Viktors Ziemelis, a former member of TKB's board, and Igors Buimisters, a former shareholder, now deceased.

Jirgena previously said that one of the shareholders approached Rimsevics in 2010 with a request for help in matters related to the Finance and Capital Market Commission (FCMC), offering Rimsevics a paid holiday trip to Kamchatka in exchange. In 2012, this shareholder, together with another shareholder, approached Rimsevics again, asking for assistance in other matters related to the FCMC. Rimsevics asked for EUR 500,000 as payment, which would be paid in two instalments - one before and one after the FCMC's decision.

Jirgena also explained that Rimsevics had not been able to do all that was asked of him, so only the first part, or EUR 250,000, had been paid. The prosecutor explained that Martinsons played the role of an intermediary in this criminal offence, receiving 10 percent of the total bribe. The prosecutor added that the bribes were paid in cash.

The supplemented indictment also accuses Rimsevics and Martinsons of laundering EUR 250,000.

According to the Prosecutor General's Office, Rimsevics used the EUR 250,000 bribe to buy real estate on behalf of a company, of which he had become a co-owner. Proceedings have also been initiated against this company for coercive measures for money laundering in the interests of this legal entity.