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Andris Skele, former Prime Minister of Latvia, not involved in digital TV fraud

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The Latvian lawyers point out that it is the longest trial ever, as the investigation was initiated 12 years ago, and the court started 7 years ago.

The relation of Andris Skele, former Prime Minister and the richest Latvian businessman, in the case of fraud committed while introducing digital television in the country, was not proved. This is reported by the portal Delfi referring to the TV channel LTV.
The program De facto obtained the full ruling of judge Juris Stukans, which stated the lack of evidence of involvement of the former Prime Minister Andris Skele in organizing that fraudulent project.
As stated in the verdict, the digitalization idea came from Andrei Ekiza, the president of the TV Company LNT. Through Jurgis Liepnieks, PR-specialist, he offered Andris Skele to own 30% of the company Kempmayer Media Limited, which was to implement digitalization in the country. Later on his share was increased up to 50%.
In November 2002, the state-owned company DLRTC and the British Kmplayer Media Limited entered into the agreement costing USD 53 million. The government was to receive 790 thousand A-class digital units and 10 thousand B- class units, the price of which was USD 186 and USD 348 a piece, respectively. However, the prices of digital receivers were significantly lower and aroused investigators’ suspicion. In August 2006, the Stockholm Arbitration Court declared the agreement null and void. A short time later it was also detained Harijs Krongorns, financial expert at the Kempmayer Media Limited, who managed the company’s funds.
According to investigation, the former Latvian Prime Minister Andris Skele is not recognized as the organizer of those manipulations. Judge Juris Stukans stressed that the case would have obtained evidence against Skele, if he had been involved in the fraud, the consideration of which took 7 years. Andris Skele acted both as a witness and a suspect in it, but he did not join the 13 public officials convicted for omissions, fraud and money laundering. In general, 20 people are accused in the case of digital TV fraud.

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