Sunday, March 28, 2010

Daimler bribed Riga City Council, Corruption Fighters Totally Clueless

The German company Daimler has paid bribes to the Riga City Council for ensuring that Mercedes busses would be purchased for the public transport agency Rigas Satiksme, according to an FBI investigation in the US. The payments in Latvia are apparently part of a wide ranging bribery campaign in a number of countries.
At least two Latvian television stations -- TV3  in its "Nothing Personal" (Nekā personīgi) and the LNT news -- disclosed that at least three payments of several hundred thousand lats were made to political parties sitting on the Riga City Council in the late 1990s and after the turn of the century. "Nothing Personal" interviewed the head of the Bureau to Combat and Prevent Corruption (Latvian acronym - KNAB) who was completely clueless about the matter. Wasn't he told? Weren't there any prior signals from the FBI? How can an American law enforcement agency know more about corruption in Latvia than KNAB, the institution specifically charged with investigating (not interstate crime, not kidnapping, not drug smugglers, not threats to national security etc. like the American FBI) nothing else but corruption.
Failed state or simply Fucked State?
And that is not all. It now seems that hundreds of valid-looking Latvian driver's licenses, that were confiscated by the police from Latvian drivers for various reasons (drunk driving, serious traffic violations) have been found to have come into the hands of criminal gangs and used for various frauds and scams, including renting cars and then selling them abroad. One case was discovered when a stranger attempted to buy a mobile phone on a leasing arrangement. He presented the confiscated driver's license of an acquaintance of the phone salesman refused the transaction.
It is not known how hundreds of confiscated driver's licenses (which normally should either be destroyed, then re-issued at the end of the suspension, or kept in a safe) made their way into the hands of criminal gangs, but it is a logical assumption that someone in the police sold the licenses to criminals knowing what they would be used for, and no one knew, or more likely, someone covered up their disappearance.
Failed state or simply Depraved State?

1 comment:

TRex said...

Heh. The drivers license issue is a bit of kindergarden criminality compared to what citizens had to go through to acquire a legitimate card. But whatever.

But am I correct when I read that the Daimier bribes happened in the ’90’s?

I am sure KNAB is much better set up now so let’s give them a break. Just because the wife of the head of KNAB is deeply in debt (reputedly) shouldn’t be any cause for concern.

Twenty years before a foreign country catches up to the crime in Latvia! I want some of that action.

Nice flame job by the way!