Bunkus murder: ex-Rego Trade board member collected money from insolvent company

Following the murder of insolvency administrator Mārtiņš Bunkus, the suspect in the criminal case, former board member of Rego Trade Mihails Uļmans managed to collect several hundred thousand euros from the insolvent company, as reported by LTV programme De Facto.
Before his murder, Bunkus, as the insolvency administrator of Rego Trade, had enforced more than one million euros from Uļmans and other formed board members of the company.
However, several days before Bunkus’ murder, an unexpected development happened in one of the trials – following a ruling from the Supreme Court, Uļmans received an opportunity to recover EUR 721 186. The Senate of the Supreme Court ordered the case to be reviewed again because Bunkus wasn’t sufficiently open about certain documents and their contents, as reported by De Facto.
Following Bunkus’ death, the insolvency process over Rego Trade was taken over by administrator Kaspars Novicāns. After losing the second viewing of the case at the court of first instance, he decided to not go after Uļmans. Additionally, documents had surfaced during the trial and were interpreted in favour of Uļmans.
«Appealing a ruling is not a sport. Only cases in which illegalities may have taken place should be appealed,» Novicāns explains his decision.
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Following the unfavourable ruling, Novicāns was ordered to pay back EUR 721 186 to Uļmans. However, he could not pay back the entire amount, as Bunkus had already used some of the money to pay himself a wage. This is why the administrator is now trying to recover the missing amount from Bunkus’ heirs – his family members, the programme reports.
Novicāns mentioned that approximately EUR 600 000 has been paid back to Uļmans from Rego Trade accounts so far. Now he is trying to recover more than EUR 300 000 from Bunkus family. This amount accounts for some of the wages Bunkus paid himself during the insolvency process.
However, two courts have ruled not in the insolvency administrator’s favour, stating that Bunkus’ heirs cannot be held responsible for his actions. The Supreme Court is next in line to have its say on this, De Factor reports.
Bunkus was shot in the morning on 30 May 2018. He was shot in his car when passing Riga Forest Cemetery. Shortly after the murder police found a burned down car with a fake registration number plate not far from the scene of the crime.
In 2021 information was received that one of the hitmen was arrested in Ukraine for a different crime. The man was arrested in Ukraine in relation to a different crime. However, during the investigation he started testifying also in relation to Bunkus’ murder.
This week Latvian State Police reported having identified nearly all people involved in the murder – from the client to the organiser and the ones who did the deed. Several persons were detained in Latvia on 24 May.
According to information from LETA, three people have been put under arrest so far – businessmen Uļmans and Aleksandr Babenko, as well as some other man.
The case is now based on the section of the Criminal Law regarding murder committed in especially aggravating circumstances by an organised group of people. This crime is punishable with life-long prison sentence or 15 to 20 years in prison.