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Latvia Anti-Corruption Bureau Opens Criminal Probe of Officials

May 26 (Bloomberg) -- Latvia’s anti-corruption bureau is investigating allegations of bribery, bribe taking and abuse of power by unidentified state officials.

The agency opened “criminal processes” against the officials on May 20, the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau said today in a statement on its website. Agents conducted searches at undisclosed companies and offices yesterday, Latvian Television reported.

“The evidence in our possession gives reason to believe that public officials and officials holding a responsible position” may have participated in operating businesses and received dividends from secretly held shares in companies, the bureau said. It is also looking into possible bribery and bribe taking, according to the statement.

The Baltic country’s parliament today rejected a request from the bureau to lift the immunity of opposition lawmaker Ainars Slesers and allow a search of his home. Slesers wasn’t mentioned in the bureau’s news release, which refers to an unidentified member of parliament who may have influenced decision-making at a number of companies and secretly held shares in others.

“What I can unequivocally say is that the facts that are mentioned do not correspond to the truth,” Slesers told reporters in comments broadcast on Latvian Television. “I’m not an owner of any of the businesses mentioned.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Eglitis in Riga at aeglitis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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