Latvian police confiscate another piece of real estate as part of so-called Magnitsky case

Latvian State Police have confiscated more assets – real estate worth approximately EUR 250 000.
Latvian State Police Economic Crimes Enforcement Unit continues performing pre-trial investigation of the Hermitage/Magnistky case, which revolves around a massive and complicated cross-border money laundering scheme.
In spring 2021 State Police Economic Crimes Enforcement Unit confiscated assets – real estate worth about EUR 230 000 – as part of the investigation of the so-called Magnitsky case.
During this investigation it was found that foreign citizens acquired exclusive real estate property in Latvia using illegally acquired finances.
Continuing the investigation, State Police Economic Crimes Enforcement Unit found another piece of real estate in Riga. The value of this piece of real estate is estimated at EUR 250 000 and it belonged to one of the partners of the criminal group’s leader.
The co-founder and manager of Hermitage Capital Management fund Bill Browder welcomes the contribution from Latvia and State Police to the fight against money laundering: «The fact these finances were uncovered and arrested in Latvia is highly important. Latvia is turning from a tax haven into a strong and capable system with a competent police force capable of investigating money laundering and creating serious consequences for those involved in crimes uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky.»
State Police remind that so far the investigation has uncovered multiple episodes in which foreign citizens in Latvia acquired real estate in prestigious areas in Riga in exchange for residence permits. Immediate arrests were handed to determine how the property was acquired and if there are signs of money laundering.
Investigators found that acquisition of said real estate property was financed using offshore firms involved in money laundering.
The finances acquired as a result of the crime went from a Russian bank to the company of the recipient of the illegally obtained funds in Cyprus. The investigation revealed mutually linked transit deals and imitations of transactions, which were used to hide illegally obtained funds in Latvia. The money was then used to acquire exclusive real estate property in Latvia.
Owners failed to produce convincing proof of the origin of the money and transparency of real estate acquisition deals. With that the investigation and acquired evidence left no room for doubt that the arrested real estate had ties to money laundering.
Other countries around the world also investigate identical crimes involving money laundering and tax-return fraud schemes.
The Magnitsky case caused an international resonance after Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky uncovered a fraud scheme worth USD 230 million. After he mentioned in his testimony the names of Russian officials, he was arrested and later died in prison.