Accused Unibanka thief squeezed in loophole

  • 2000-01-20
RIGA - Latvian prosecutors closed a loophole just in time last week
to make sure bank teller Indulis Sturans, accused of the 1998 theft
of more than $2.5 million from Unibanka, stays in jail until his

A clerical error by the prosecutor's office originally had Sturans in
jail until March, two days longer than the 18 months allowed by
Latvian law, according to the Latvian wire service LETA.

The Riga Regional Court last Tuesday ordered Sturans be released, but
prosecutors filed a last-minute correction and Sturans never made it
outside the prison walls.

He now must be indicted before March 6.

Sturans and others were charged in September, 1998 after $2.5
million, 193,315 deutschmarks, 5,400 pounds sterling, 100,006 French
francs and two Lithuanian litas in hard currency disappeared from
Unibanka in late August.

Prosecutors would not comment on the case, but expected an indictment in March.