The long trial in the so-called digital television criminal case is a Christmas “gift” and proof of the state’s inability to deal with this case in due time, en considering that there is only one contract in question, said Latvian Prosecutor General Juris Stukāns at the “Corruption – A Threat to National and Global Security” conference.
In regards to the lasting trials, Stukāns said this week it was “a gift to say that on Christmas”, specifically that for 20 years the state has not been able to go through a criminal procedure that features a single contract.
After a verdict is announced, he believes professors in the future should take to analysing this case “and decide theoretically what went wrong and what we failed to understand”.
Stukāns said the case is not nearly as complicated as it may have seemed at first.
This week the Supreme Court of Latvia cancelled the original 2021 ruling of Riga Regional Court, which acquitted all eight accused in the digital television case.
On the 12th of July 2021 the court of appeal instance acquitted all of the accused in the criminal case concerning the digital television adoption project of 2002-2003 and the contract signed between Digital Latvijas Radio and Television Centre (DLRTC) with Kempmayer Media Limited.
The accused Andrejs Ēķis, Jurģis Liepnieks, Guntars Spunde, Jānis Loze, Harijs Krongorns, Jānis Svārpstons, Jānis Zips, Uldis Kokins were declared not guilty, and the portion of the criminal process against Māris Pauders was ended.
The prosecutor submitted a cassation complaint over this ruling, which the Supreme Court later satisfied. Now the case will return to the regional court.
The digital television criminal case concerns the contract between DLRTC and Kempmayer Media Limited subsidiary Kempmayer Media Latvia, which provided for the introduction of digital television in multiple stages, as well as the supply of various specific technologies to ensure continued digital broadcasts. The project’s total costs were previously estimated as several dozen million lats.
In summer 2019 the court of appeal found several people guilty in the criminal case.
Former officials of Kempmayer Media Latvia were sentenced to actual prison time. Former Kempmayer board member Svārpstons was sentenced to two years and nine months of prison, as well as fine of EUR 22 790. Zabeckis was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison, and former Kempmayer board member Zips was sentenced to one year and nine months in prison and a fine of EUR 22 790.
The once DLRTC director general Spunde was sentenced to nine months in prison and a fine of EUR 26 230. Lawyer Loze was sentenced to one year and nine months in prison and a fine of EUR 33 540.
Liepnieks was previously sentenced to a fine of EUR 67 080, and former owner of LNT television channel Ēķis was sentenced to a fine of EUR 40 850.
The court of appeal instance previously gave full acquittal to former director of the National Theatre Ojārs Rubenis. Judges of Riga Regional Court also gave acquittal to former state trustee to Latvian State Radio and Television Centre Didzis Jonovs, business consultant Valdis Purvinskis and LVRTC state trustee Adrians Boldans. The court of first instance sentenced each of them to a fine of EUR 18 000 instead.
The Supreme Court cancelled the appeal instance court’s ruling, returning the case to Riga Regional Court.
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