Latvia Uncovers Money Laundering Scheme
The Latvia State Revenue Service (VID) said end of last week (SEE BELOW) that it had launched a pre-trial examination of evidence after a series of raids were carried out on businesses and personal residences in Riga.
Officials seized documents, computers and mobile phones in the course of the search.
These reportedly suggest that a group of individuals, who as yet remain unidentified, had since August last year used companies registered in Latvia, Belarus, Russia and Austria to sell overpriced biopolymer granules in order to launder illicit funds.
The authority also seized 520 tonnes of biopolymer granules, worth approximately €5 million ($5.48 million). It said it would not provide further information on the investigation at this time.
READ MORE - The Latvia State Revenue Service (VID) said end of last week
- In April of this year, the Tax and Customs Police Department of the State Revenue Service (SRS) initiated criminal proceedings against a group of persons who laundered the proceeds of crime in the amount of more than seven million euros by using the data of several companies and conducting suspicious transactions.
- Within the framework of the initiated criminal proceedings, a pre-trial investigation is being conducted into suspicious transactions and a money laundering scheme established by a group of persons. During a series of investigations and proceedings, it was found that in the period from 1 August 2019 to April 2020, expensive biopolymer granules were sold through a fictitious chain of companies, thus money laundering. Companies registered in Latvia, Belarus, Russia and Austria were involved in the fictitious transaction scheme.
- As part of the criminal proceedings, six searches were carried out in the customs territory of Riga, as well as at the residences of the persons involved in the criminal proceedings and at the legal addresses of companies in Riga and outside the territory of Riga. During the search, important investigative evidence was seized - accounting documents, information on electronic data carriers, computers and mobile phones, as well as other documents and objects that may be of evidence in criminal proceedings.
- A consignment of 520 tonnes of biopolymer pellets worth approximately five million euros has been seized to secure property.
- In connection with the criminal activities of a group of persons, criminal proceedings have been initiated according to the characteristics of the criminal offenses provided for in Section 195, Paragraph three  .
- No further information will be provided in the interest of the investigation.
- In accordance with Section 19 of the Criminal Procedure Law, no person shall be considered guilty until his or her guilt in committing a criminal offense has been established in accordance with the procedures specified in the Criminal Procedure Law.
 (3) The acts provided for in Paragraph one of this Section, if committed to a large extent or if committed by an organized group, shall be punishable by imprisonment for a term of three to twelve years, with or without confiscation of property, and by supervision of probation. for a period of up to three years or without it.