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Latvia prosecuting officials in Daimler bribery case

At least seven officials in Latvia, including members from the Riga city council, will be prosecuted for taking bribes from German vehicle-maker Daimler AG in return for public transport contracts.

Latvia's Corruption Prevention Bureau this month requested the prosecutor's office to bring the charges based on information provided by U.S. authorities, according to local press reports.

Daimler paid $185 million in 2010 to settle FCPA charges arising from payments in China, Russia, Croatia, and Latvia. That settlement is the seventh biggest FCPA case of all time.

'The officials received bribes from Daimler so that it would win public transportation purchase tenders in Riga,' according to the Baltic Course. 'The Daimler-manufactured ''Mercedes Benz'' public transportation buses were eventually purchased by the Riga municipal public transportation company Rigas Satiksmes. A total of 117 ''Mercedes Benz'' buses were purchased by the municipal company between 2002 and 2006,' the report said.

The evidence provided by U.S. authorities indicated that Daimler paid bribes in Latvia of €4.3 million.

At least three separate payments reportedly went to several members of the Riga city council.

The former transport advisor to the mayor of Riga, Leonards Tenis, was named by the prosecutor's office.

'Tenis has been charged for repeated bribe taking in large amounts. The bribes, according to the prosecutor, were taken not only from Daimler AG group company Evo Bus, but also from other public transportation bus and trolley-bus manufacturers – Ikarus Special Coach Factory Ltd., Neoplan Polska (currently named Solaris Bus & Coach) and Ganz Transelektro Traction Electrics,' a local report said.

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