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Latvia's First Party charged with forgery

  • 2004-10-27
  • By TBT staff
RIGA - The Corruption Prevention and Control Bureau decided on Oct. 26 not to press criminal charges against the chief accountant of Latvia's First Party for forging documents and donating money in someone else's name since the statute of limitations on the crime had run out.

A criminal case could have been launched within two years of the offense, but the deadline passed earler this month.

Latvia's First Party chief accountant was charged with forging documents pertaining to a 9,000 lat (13,400 euro) donation in October 2002 in order to circumvent campaign finance restrictions that forbid donations of more than 10,000 lats by either businesses or individuals.

The forgery was discovered this year with the help of handwriting experts, who determined the forged signature was allegedly that of the chief accountant. Later the accounted testified that she had in fact donated the money under someone else's name.

Members of Latvia's First Party were not immediately available for comment.

Latvia's First Party was created shortly before the last parliamentary elections and ran on a theme of religious renewal, bolstered by a number of priests and pastors in their ranks.

Having amassed donations of 251,273 lats, Latvia's First Party eventually went on to muster 9.5 percent of the vote and 10 seats in Parliament. Earlier this year, however, the party's ranks grew by four when a group of MPs from the National Harmony Party defected.

At the time of the defection, National Harmony leader Janis Jurkans claimed that the renegade lawmakers had been bought.

The anti-corruption bureau initially stated that 64 percent of LFP's donations could not be accounted by the donors' income over the last three years.