Anti-graft operatives raid Riga mayor's office, home as part of criminal probe

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-31 00:37:50|Editor: yan
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RIGA, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Operatives of the Latvian anti-graft agency on Wednesday raided the office and home of Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs as part of what they described as an ongoing criminal investigation, local media reported.

Ugis Vidauskis, a spokesman for the Riga city council, said on public radio that the Corruption Prevention Bureau's officers arrived at the town hall before noon but that they gave no explanations for their activities.

Simultaneously, searches were also conducted at Usakovs' home in Riga's posh neighborhood of Mezaparks. After finishing the search, the officers left Usakovs' home carrying several suitcases and a black plastic bag. Neither the Riga mayor nor his wife, who heads his office, were detained in the process.

While talking to media representatives in the afternoon, Usakovs assured his conscience was clear. Claiming no criminal activity on his part, he said he would not resign as mayor of Riga.

Meanwhile, opposition councilor Vilnis Kirsis said that the opposition in the city council was collecting signatures under a call for a council meeting to vote on Usakovs' dismissal.

Kirsis said that given the ongoing probe into Rigas Satiksme municipal transport company's corruption scandal and Wednesday's raids it would be right for Usakovs to stand down.

Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said on public radio he did not know the reason for the raids at the Riga mayor's office and home. He also said that it was for Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Puce to decide whether to sack the Riga mayor.

Karins noted, however, that recent corruption scandals in Riga had been shocking and that as a resident of Riga he was dissatisfied with the local government's job performance.