Ossinovski, business partner cleared of bribery after Latvian court ruling

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Vidzeme District Court hearing on Thursday. Source: Linda Spundiņa/Latvijas Radio/LSM

Businessman Oleg Ossinovski has been acquitted of bribery in a Latvian court, the English-language portal of that country's public broadcaster, LSM, reports.

Ossinovski, 54, head of Skinest rail, was charged with offering close to half a million euros as a bribe to former head of Latvian Railways Ugis Magonis, allegedly to smooth the way for sales of diesel locomotives from the former to the latter.

The Vidzeme District Court in Limbaži, in the west of Latvia, acquitted both men on Thursday, LSM reports.

Following the ruling, Ossinovski's lawyer Jelena Kjatkovska told the media that: "I have already pointed out both the poor quality of the accusation and the complete lack of evidence, so such a court ruling is natural."

The criminal case was one of the highest profile in Latvia in recent years, stemming back to the 2015 detention of Magonis by anti-corruption authorities in Latvia.

Magonis said that the funds were the result of lobbying work in Russia on behalf of Ossinovski, but the case went to court in 2017, with the prosecutor seeking four-year jail terms for both defendants.

In 2018, a Latvian court separated the Skinest aspect of the case and referred it to an Estonian court. Ossinovski's requests to be tried in his home country had up to that point been overruled.

Ossinovski issued a recent statement expressing satisfaction with the Latvian judicial system's independence, and reiterated the denial of wrong-doing and that the funds were related to business in another country.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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