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Latvian report
by Euro Reporter
2013-08-23 12:25:39
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1,624 drunk drivers detained so far this year

So far this year, police have detained a total of 1,624 drunk drivers throughout the country, according to State Police information as of August 17, reported LETA.

During this same period last year, police detained a total of 1,898 drunk drivers, but the year before - 1,550.

Furthermore, police have detained 2,973 persons driving bicycles under the influence of alcohol so far this year, compared to 3,012 during the same period last year.


Latvia seizes assets of former Russian bank manager

Real estate belonging to exiled former Bank of Moscow President Andrei Borodin has been seized in Latvia, Russia’s Deputy Prosecutor General Alexander Zvyagintsev said in an interview to the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily. The prosecutor confirmed that real estate belonging to the former president of Bank of Moscow, Andrei Borodin, in Latvia had been seized, but did not specify what property was involved, or its value. Latvian real estate is popular with Russia’s wealthy, particularly on the Baltic coast, where if fetches very high prices.

Russia launched a criminal case against Borodin and his former first deputy Dmitry Akulinin in late 2010 on charges of large-scale fraud involving state funds. They were accused of improperly loaning $443 million to shell companies, which then transferred the cash to Yelena Baturina, the wife of Moscow ex-mayor Yury Luzhkov and the owner of the construction empire Inteco. Borodin, who’s Bank of Moscow, functioned as the capital's chief investment vehicle under Luzhkov, fled to the UK in 2011. In November 2011 the Russian Interpol bureau put Borodin and Akulinin on an international wanted list.

Borodin has consistently denied any wrongdoing and claimed his prosecution in Russia was part of a political vendetta against those close to Luzhkov in the run-up to the 2011 parliamentary and 2012 presidential election. In March 2013 Borodin was granted political asylum in the UK, just months after he bought what the UK press said was the most expensive house in Britain for $220 million. On May 27, 2013, the Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) launched a criminal case against Borodin and has frozen around $368 million in his Swiss bank accounts, and has declared Bank of Moscow an injured party in the case, allowing it to file for damages to be paid from Borodin's seized funds.


A balance between EC's desire for more accountability and less bureaucracy for those wishing to obtain EU funds

Commenting the European Commission's decision for Latvia to repay EUR 1.2 million in farm aid, the prime minister told members of the press that this is in regard to activities that took place a while ago, between 2005 to 2009, and funding was paid out to so-called bio-farms. ''Taking into account that those who received the financing were small farms, the then government decided to simplify the bureaucratic procedures to receive these funds. This topic is being discussed within the Commission at the moment, as at believes requirements to receive funding must be tighter,'' the prime minister said. ''We must take this into account when thinking about the next planning period. We must find a balance in this regard. The more bureaucracy and accountability for those receiving financing, the safer we are that we will not have any problems with the European Commission'' Dombrovskis said, adding that those who wish to obtain financing have complained about the excessive bureaucracy in obtaining EU funding.

As reported, more than half of EU member states will have to pay back millions in farm aid, including Latvia, because they did not follow the rules, the European Commission said on Tuesday. The Commission, the European Union's executive arm, named 15 countries which owed in total about EUR 180 million (USD 235 million) for various infringements, chiefly that of ensuring aid payments are tied to farmers' actual land. Latvia will have to repay the Commission EUR 1.2 million (LVL 843,360).

Meanwhile, Great Britain will have to repay about EUR 40.4 million over this land mapping requirement and another EUR 18.6 million for shortcomings in allocating entitlements, it said. Poland owes EUR 39.2 million and Denmark EUR 11.5 million, it added. The Commission said it has to ensure that the 28 member states make correct use of funds provided under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the EU farm support system which accounts for around a third of all the bloc's spending. It said that because of repayments already made, Tuesday's action covers some EUR 169 million owed by Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, Finland and the United Kingdom.


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