RIGA - Following a letter received from the Saeima National Security Committee, the Prosecutor General’s Office has launched a probe into the situation at the Constitutional Protection Bureau, reports news agency LETA. The prosecutor’s bureau will investigate alleged connections between a high-ranking Constitutional Protection Bureau official - Aigars Bors - and businessman Artis Hartmanis, suspected of running a large-scale money laundering scheme. It is possible that
Bors has stepped down after news about the money laundering scheme hit the headlines.
The Constitutional Protection Bureau has said that the media-reported allegations about a bureau official involved in a money laundering scheme are unfounded. The Constitutional Protection Bureau’s press secretary, Baiba Rata-Salina, said that media reports are based on information that is more than four years old, which is “embellished with journalists’ speculation and partial interpretations.”
The Saeima National Security Committee sent the letter on Nov. 17, requesting that the “situation” at the Constitutional Protection Bureau be examined and the findings of the investigation be reported to the committee, according to the committee’s chairman, Gundars Daudze (Union of Greens and Farmers). The committee’s decision came in the wake of reports that Bors, head of the Constitutional Protection Bureau’s Intelligence Department, is connected to Hartmanis, a suspect in a money laundering scheme.
Daudze declined to comment on this information. “I do not want to comment until I have full information about the situation,” he said, adding that he could also ask for explanations from the Constitutional Protection Bureau.
The committee cannot yet fully investigate the situation at the Constitutional Protection Bureau because not all members of the committee have clearance yet to access classified information.
Iveta Bora, business partner of Hartmanis, is the wife of Bors, according to the social activists’ portal pietiek.com. Due to secrecy laws, pietiek.com was unable to clarify Bors’ position, or even whether he is employed at the bureau, but unofficial information indicates that he is the head of the bureau’s counterintelligence unit.
The State Revenue Service had earlier opened criminal proceedings, believed to be against Liepaja businessman Hartmanis, over tax evasion and suspected illegal activity in the oil business; he is suspected of laundering more than 140 million lats (200 million euros) via a major money laundering scheme, and of owing 1 million lats in unpaid taxes.
This illegal money was partially spent on a private plane, a motor boat and an exclusive Aston Martin automobile, the Revenue Service’s Communications Department reported.
Hartmanis later denied any knowledge of the scheme, but is said to have since left the country. According to pietiek.com, it is possible that Hartmanis fled the country with assistance from Bors, including a false passport provided by the Constitutional Protection Bureau. Bors may have warned Hartmanis in advance of the SRS investigation, giving him time to prepare to leave the country before his situation worsened.
From 2006 up to April 21 this year, Hartmanis owned 42.5 percent of the shares in the Liepaja firm Baltic Bunkering Company, one of the companies suspected of involvement in the scheme, while Iveta Bora is a 20 percent shareholder in the company.
The SRS is not currently releasing details on individuals involved in their investigation.