Car bomb injures shadowy businessman

  • 2002-04-18
  • Jorgen Johansson

The well-known businessman Beslans Krumins survived an explosion that ripped apart his car in the Latvian capital Riga on April 16.

The bomb went off in the suburb of Jugla in the yard of a private house, according to the police.

Police said Krumins, an ethnic Chechen, was lucky to have survived the blast with just minor burns and scrapes. His car was destroyed.

Krumins was treated and quickly released from a Riga hospital.

"Experts are still trying to figure out what kind of explosive was used, and how it was triggered," said Krists Leiskalns, a state police spokesman.

Leiskalns said police believed the bombing was linked to "economic affairs."

However, he would not comment on reports in the local media that Krumins was connected to organized crime in Latvia.

A Latvian court acquitted Krumins in 1997 of illegal possession of firearms and document fraud.

Former Interior Minister Janis Adamsons told the Baltic News Service soon after the bombing that Krumins had helped keep the Chechen mafia out of Latvia and had made enemies.

According to Adamsons, Krumins has had no other arrests.

At one point, Krumins was a close associate of the late Chechen President Dzhokar Dudayev.

Krumins could not be reached for comment.

MP Juris Vidins of the For Fatherland and Freedom party, who heads the Latvian Parliament's Chechnya cooperation group, said the bomb probably had nothing to do with ethnic or political motives.

"Krumins is a person who likes to show off diamond rings and drive around with bodyguards while his nation drowns in blood," he said.

According to Latvia's computerized register of companies, Krumins is not officially connected to any company registered in Latvia.