Suspected of financial crimes, Martinsons decides to leave Moduls Riga
BNN bssb.be 11.09.2014
The head of Moduls Riga, winner of many state and municipal construction projects, Maris Martinsons has decided to leave the company’s Board. Even though the company denies any involvement in tax fraud schemes for which Latvian Finance Police has launched criminal investigations this summer it turns out that Martinsons is a suspect in this investigation.
In his interview to Nekā personīga programme of TV3, Martinsons mentioned that he has decided to leave the company in order not to cast a shadow on it. Nevertheless, the businessman denies any involvement in financial crimes.
Martinsons’ Moduls Riga has been regularly receiving orders from the state and municipality. The company’s cooperation with Riga municipality has been successful the most. In the last five years, Moduls Riga received the right to repair schools and kindergartens in the capital for more than EUR 20 million.
However, Moduls Riga appeared in negative light this summer. It was mentioned among companies that used servives or artificially created companies in order to defraud VAT. Police had performed searches in nearly 100 places, including Moduls Riga office in Pardaugava. It is said that the criminal group has managed to cause damage worth more than EUR 11 million to the state in the form of unpaid taxes. This operation was the biggest in Finance Police’s history. This entire operation required permission from the Supreme Court and Prosecutor General, because among the suspects is Jelgava Court Chairwoman Iveta Salaks’ husband Juris Salaks and CPCB operative Janis Mikelsons’ civil wife Anta Disereite.
«This organized crime group consisted of five persons. One of the key figures is a woman. Even women are adapting to this kind of ‘activity’. It is hard to say that a person has to be well-prepared, educated and have knowledge about group and tax system and all kinds of legal matters in order to play such a role,» – notes Director of Finance Police Kaspars Podins.
Disereite’s role in all this was sorting out accounting.
Salaks did not show up when the police asked him to. His role in the tax fraud scheme was to secure fictive companies. He founded many SIA that do not perform activities of any kind. Every company needed officials, if possible from the former USSR, which would make sure they are hard to locate should a criminal investigation occur. The judge claims she did not know about her husband’s other life.
«I have no involvement in any of that. I do not live with my husband. I live in Jelgava,» – says Salaka. When asked if a search has been conducted at her husband’s home, she replied: «Yes. That is all there was. Nothing was found. I am not surprised. It is an unpleasant incident. And it is unpleasant for me to speak about it.»
Finance Police has uncovered that a large number of fictive companies have been involved in the scheme – near 60.
Organizers of the criminal group did not keep in touch with members of the group directly. Instead they used mediators.
Maris Martisons has confirmed that he is held suspect by the police as a potential organizer of tax fraud and money laundering.
When asked if he has ever given anyone instructions related to money laundering or VAT fraud, Martinsons says: «Never! There is an investigation, and the people doing the investigation know for sure. Let them speak. I would be very surprised to see any proof. I am already held suspect as some organizer. I don’t think a single other person is more interested than me. Several companies are involved in this, but I don’t know any of the people in charge of them.
If this is personally against me, then what does it have to do with the company? This is why I have decided to leave Moduls Riga. I do not want the company to suffer from something aimed specifically against me. I don’t know how to comment all this. It will remain on the conscience of the people who are interested in all this,» – says Martinsons.
Martinsons’ company also provides money to support different kinds of sports. Martinsons’ current passion is the creation of a hockey club for fast loan company Mogo.lv. Even though Martinsons’ name is not featured on the list of supporters of political parties, he is known as an influential businessman among politicians.
Eight years ago, Martinsons donated LVL 10,000 to Unity’s predecessor New Era. This was the only time when Martinsons had openly supported a political power. Unity’s Edgars Jaunups was the link that tied Martinsons with this party. Martinsons is Jaunups’ managed VEF Riga basketball club’s official. His company is the club’s sponsor general. Jaunups is currently busy working in Repše’s For Latvia’s Development party. He denies any talks about Martinsons’ being a sponsor for the party.
«I’ve known Martinsons for a long time. Together we have sponsored numerous sports projects, and I think highly of him as a supporter of Latvian sports. A big and successful businessman and a trustworthy employer. Martinsons has not donated money to For Latvia’s Development. Similarly to the majority of Latvian businessmen, he does not want to support politicians in order to avoid public persecution later,» – said Jaunups in his interview to Nekā Personīga.
Martinsons’ name has been mentioned in relation to the sale of Citadele Bank. He was originally mentioned as American Ripplewood Holdings partner in Latvia. Soon, however, Americans decided to choose a different partner after having heard of searches being carried out at Martinsons’ company office.
«A total of five persons are held suspect at the moment. There is still a lot to do, because a number of requests to aid in the investigation have been sent out. We are still awaiting responses, including from Germany and Poland. The average length of investigation of this category is two years. With that, it will not be something long,» – comments the head of Economic Crimes Police Gatis Gudermanis.
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