Justice warrior or semi-criminal method specialist: a report was already prepared five years ago about Jurass’ place in illegal cigarette business


Lato Lapsa

Anti-Corruption Bureau (KNAB) employee Juris Jurass and Office of the Defense of the Constitution (SAB) employee Aigars Sparans divided their turf in Latgale “some time ago” – A. Sparans is steering oil, but J. Jurass is steering cigarettes. A report which contains also this kind of information was already prepared for the director of the Security Police more than five years ago by his deputy. This is only one of the many clues from previous years which shine a light on J. Jurass’ possible criminal activity. The clue is not being thoroughly investigated but shoved deeper in law enforcement drawers together with allegations which are often called “Jurass’ Methods”.

News about “toppers” In state security and law enforcement premises

Diena has at their disposal a statement by deputy head of Security Police Ints Ulmanis, dated January 16, 2017, officially obtained from a probation cas. The statement is addressed to the current director Normunds Mezviets. This expressive document is worth it to be displayed in its entirety:

“On January 11, 2017, in Security Police premises I met with head of Security of Latvian Railway N. who was appointed an information source by Aivars Lembergs on a press conference on June 8, 2016, talking about “toppers” in state security and law enforcement premises.

N. has pointed out that during an extended period, while communicating with various people, he has received different kinds of information about possible illegal activities of law enforcement employees.

N. pointed out that this way he has received information about:

1)  Janis Boroviks who allegedly many years ago demanded customs to pay half of their received bribes to speed up car control when driving out of port territory. No more details are known only that customs have asked for 20 lats or euros in bribes from 1 car.

2) Aigars Sparans who many years ago “managed” licensing for an oil product warehouse in Latgale (the title could hold the letters DB). Later there was delivered Belarussian diesel which entered Latvia with switched documents of origin (the switch happened in Belarus, documents in Latvia were in order).

3) Juris Jurass and A. Sparans who some time ago split the turf in Latgale (it was rumored that A. Sparans is steering the oil, but J. Jurass is steering cigarettes). Turf splitting started when it became known that for 1 declared truck with cigarettes there are 4 undeclared ones. No further details are available to him.

4) Janis Dambitis who promised to settle all problems to those people in Latvia who have made business transiting illegal fuel to Poland. J. Dambitis was involved in a money extortion scheme by knowing beforehand which companies will be audited by State Revenue Service and by promising the businessmen to deliver all necessary documents to the State Revenue Service. More precise information is not known.

5) J. Jurass and J. Boroviks who after the detainment of businessman Vasilijs Krupenics in Latgale offered to cooperate with and work for them, promising to release V. Krupenics from imprisonment.

The received information was not specific and was not enough to report it as the law requires it to the corresponding law enforcement institutions.

Sparans is trapped, Jurass continues to walk on thin ice?

As it turns out the information was “not enough” to even formally question the people mentioned in the report. From the probation case materials (which Diena had the privilege to get acquainted with after official request) it is clear that from the officials mentioned by Latvian Railroad explanations were asked only from State Revenue Service deputy director of Financial Police, head of Intel Department J. Boroviks who, of course, denied all suspicions and everything ended with that.

According to the declassified probation materials J. Jurass was not asked any formal explanations. However, State Security now does not want to answer the question what kind of actions were performed to evaluate and verify information mentioned in this document about the current politician J. Jurass and what was the result of these actions.

Some clarification about what was and maybe still is going on behind the scenes in this state security premise is provided by a fragment from police employee Arturs Smaukstelis’ reports, published by Diena in a previous publication about Janis Adamsons’ spy case.

Undeniable is the fact that successful detainment of A. Sparans was possible only after whistleblower Ints Ulmanis’ retirement. If I. Ulmanis would remain in his position all of the information about tedious work against state organized crime group members and A. Smaukstelis’ detainment would be washed down the drain. This is how A. Smaukstelis describes the strange relationships and “eye-closing” politics in the current State Security Office.

Information available at Diena’s disposal draws the conclusion that such a wish not to “notice” news which clearly point to possible J. Jurass’ involvement in criminal activities was noticeable for many years. The same attitude relates to A. Sparans’ “slip-ups”. But if in case of A. Sparans the cup is full, J. Jurass continues to walk on thin ice. At least for now.

First news about strange «contacts”

First clear and undeniable clues at Diena’s disposal which point to J. Jurass’ strange or semi-criminal “contacts” can be traced 15 years in the past, to 2007 when the then head of State Revenue Service Customs Criminal Administration Vladimirs Vaskevics was blown up.

Four months after the explosion V. Vaskevics issued this statement (criminal proceedings at Diena’s disposal): “I have information at my disposal about deputy director of KNAB Operational Development Department Juris Jurass’ connection with the planning of my assassination. I can explain that around 10.09.2007 I discovered from my employees, specifically from Eriks Zalenieks, who performed the tasks of director, and Ceslavs Demcenko, that State Revenue Service Customs Criminal Administration has received a letter from prison about a person wanting to meet me. I cannot name this person as I do not know their last name.

I did not go to prison to meet this person. I sent Ceslavs Demcenko there. After that I discovered from the previously mentioned employees that the prisoner talked about my assassination, planned by State Revenue Service employee J. Jurass together with representatives from the criminal underworld.

I did not go deeper in this matter, but I thought that this kind of information must be submitted to Organized Crime Agency where the mentioned crime is being investigated. As I heard while in the hospital, J. Jurass is spreading rumors that I orchestrated the explosion myself. I no longer remember from who exactly I heard this information. To whom he distributed this information I do not know.”

Questioned as a witness, the prisoner specified in V. Vaskevics testimonies Mihails Dmitriks issued long and detailed statements the gist of which is: he asked J. Jurass for help and he gave him a contact person who could solve “problems”.

This person, when realized that M. Dmitriks was sent by J. Jurass, redirected him to an Andrejs Gavrilovs called “Gavrila junior”. This person “works with very informal situations and could help”. As it turned out later M. Dmitriks found a criminal explosion “master” by the recommendation of J. Jurass.

A. Gavrilovs, as described by M. Dmitriks, “listened to my story and he offered me not to compromise but simply blow up. I had to pay 700-800 lats for one explosion. Considering this I negotiated with “Tatar” and two of his acquaintances who I do not know. I had to pay 2100 lats.

I asked this person what my guarantees are, will I not be caught with the remote controls of the charges or in other words – I come to blow up, but the police are already there. He replied that in his opinion “Tatar” is not a specific person and that there are other, more important people. That made me think that he could be connected with Vaskevics’ car explosion”.

Like other episodes known to Diena in this one the law enforcement showed only formal interest about their “own”. J. Jurass was interrogated in connection with the criminal proceedings, but he simply stated that he knows M. Dmitriks as an operative only. Nothing more. M. Dmitriks left a bad impression about himself and made the impression that he wants material benefit from every situation. Cooperation with him was ended on the condition that if he wants to cooperate the news must be genuine. This statement was enough for the investigators and there were no more actions performed in this direction.

When it was still possible to kick Jurass out of the office

J. Jurass’ self-confidence grew along with his career and his expanding rights provided by his employer. That how the new state security employee’s view on success and possibilities evolved is described by a fragment from A. Smaukstelis’ report about a lengthy conversation with his former Security Police colleague Andris Kalnins.

A. Kalnins stated that when State Borderguard was run by Gunars Dabolins, Security Police Operational Development Department where Juta Strike and Juris Jurass worked performed procedural tasks in State Borderguard (connected with corruption). J. Strike and J. Jurass visited head of the State Borderguard G. Dabolins as part of their work.

J. Strike and J. Jurass entered G. Dabolins’ office without knocking and tried to initiate an arrogant conversation. G. Dabolins, not leaving his seat, ordered J. Strike and J. Jurass to leave his office and enter it again by knocking and introducing themselves such as his rank requires it. J. Strike and J. Jurass left the office, knocked, entered, introduced themselves and stated the purpose of their visit.

After listening to J. Strike and J. Jurass, G. Dabolins kicked them out of his office and ordered them to never return to him again. A. Kalnins knows of this situation because J. Strike wrote a report about the situation with G. Dabolins, asking to evaluate G. Dabolins’ behavior and his conformity to be granted access to state secrets. The mentioned report was sent to 1st Bureau of Security Police.

What is the origin of talks about “Jurass’ methods”?

This was still a time when an official knowing their legal rights could simply kick J. Jurass out of their office. After the party Jaunais Laiks gained power there were major shifts in general political stances against “exaggerated” following of the rule of law in law enforcement and specifically KNAB work. Instead, there came a point about battling corruption without “white gloves”. The situation changed drastically.

The first known and documented clues to J. Jurass’ methods of obtaining “correct” testimonies date back to 2007, which is basically the other side of the same coin. On October 9, 2007, Ruslans Dervans writes a complaint to his bosses, clearly pointing to J. Jurass’ wish to squeezed out all of the testimonies needed for him, ignoring their truthfulness or the lack of it:

“With this I am letting you know that on October 2, on my way to work in the morning, three men came to me, showed me KNAB badges and invited me to accompany them to KNAB. To my question about what status they replied that I will find out there.

In an unofficialy conversation KNAB employee Jurass told me to admit that I have received miney from V. Vaskevics’ wife Inara Vilkaste and that it probably on March 15. If I would admit it that Vilkaste and Vaskevics have simulated Organized Crime Agency work I would face no consequences, there would be no search or otherwise they would arrest me.

Since I have not received any money neither from Vilkaste, nor from Vaskevics, I could not admit to anything. That is why I was taken to an office where there was a search performed. There was a search performed also in my apartment, car, my wife’s summer house and her car.”

Many years later the criminal proceedings against R. Dervan (like many other proceedings started by KNAB) were ended without results. As KNAB employee and J. Jurass’ contemporary J. Strike publicly admits that “the criminal proceedings were ended because there was not enough evidence pointing to a crime and being the base of prosecution.” Whereas R. Dervans’ complaints about “Jurass’ methods” are being ignored on prosecution level.

Unofficial talks in prison and other “motivational” methods

Lack of control creates a feeling of invincibility. In 2007 this was verified by the aforementioned SAB employee Aigars Sparans, literally a few minutes after blowing up V. Vaskevics, “coincidentally” finding himself on the scene later providing fictitious and fake testimonies about this “coincidence”.

Speaking about “Jurass’ methods” – their users are not particularly worried about hiding their doubtful actions. The oldest documented reports at Diena’s disposal are back from 2008 and are about the so-called Riga City Council bribery case and a “shoebox full of money” which remains a simple mention in testimonies but is not confiscated by the investigators, creating reasonable doubt about its existence. But if in R. Dervan’s case “Jurass’ methods” do not give any results it means that in this case they have been very fruitful

“On June 27, 2007, the former I. Vilkaste’s employee R. Stalbergs was issued a statement about being brought to justice in criminal proceedings No.11810037506 (about extortion from I. Vilkaste). Six days after receiving this information R. Stalbergs writes another application to KNAB but this time lying about me bribing Riga City Council officials,” during the criminal proceedings I. Vilkaste describes what happened, especially pointing out that after receiving this application addressed to KNAB investigator Alla Jurasa no criminal cases were opened.

Only significantly later KNAB (after noticing that the criminal proceedings about bribery in Riga City Council will reach a dead-end) shifts its attention to an application where the head of administration of City Development Department of Riga City Council Raimonds Janita was mentioned as a bribery middleman and the fact that (considering the arrested official’s age and health) the official could be ready for any kind of cooperation to ease his punishment.

That is when J. Jurass appears with his “Jurass’ methods”. “Not without a reason it is Alla Jurasa’s husband Juris Jurass, head of KNAB Department of Operational Development not included in criminal proceedings and who was on February 25, 2008, asked by KNAB investigator R. Kuzma to issue a permit to visit Raimonds Janita in Matiss prison,” states I. Vilkaste.

Exactly this visit is very important for the further evolution of the case and officials are doing all they can to diligently but not very skillfully to hide that it ever existed without the lawyer of the arrested being present. The prosecutor of General Prosecutor’s Office Maris Leja officially announces that “the request to get acquainted with KNAB investigator’s permit from February 25, 2008, to Juris Jurass to visit R. Janita” is deniable but it also proves that such a permit was legitimately issued.

R. Janita himself, during court on March 25, 2010, to questions “Has anyone visited you without a lawyer present?” and “Has Juris Jurass from KNAB visited you?” replied: “No, never. I do not know him!” Meanwhile, looking at the evolution of the case, there is basically no doubt that in unofficial talks R. Janita received an offer which was hard to refuse: needed testimonies in exchange for release from prison and getting rid of criminal proceedings and punishment (which, thanks to court’s “incompetence” never took effect). The needed testimonies are about the same one-million-euro bribe about which KNAB suddenly “remembered” after a “fact check” which went on half a year. And these are enough.

More complaints shoved in a drawer about Jurass and his “contacts”

Approximately at the same time Regional Investment Bank board member Arkadijs Fjodorovs delivers testimonies to Riga Northern District Court which include information which points to suspicious contacts of J. Jurass:

“Strange people intercepted me next to my house and without showing any documents they asked me to testify against Inara Vilkaste and then they would leave me alone. Otherwise, I would definitely have another stroke, I would lose my job in the bank, and nobody will provide for my disabled daughter. They were two in a Volkswagen Golf. I do not remember the color. I was surprised how much they knew about my child and stroke, and that I am the only provider in the family.

I got mad and sent them away. After that I called my Jewish friends and asked them to take care of my disabled daughter in case anything would happen to me. My health deteriorated.

Some Boriss Gafts (who knows Inara Vilkaste) started pressuring me and introduced himself as KNAB freelance worker – agent (KNAB notes that all information about the identity of secret agents and their work in Latvia is classified as top secret) and claimed that he is friends with some KNAB employee named Jurass. He offered me his services quite often to “solve this case”. These testimonies, however, have no effect on J. Jurass’ further career in law enforcement.

Temptations and a possibility to make them real can tempt even the most passionate justice warriors. Next Diena publication will be about what Maris Kucinskis’, head of National Security Commission of the Saeima, publicly stated in the beginning of the year – “there is critical evidence that he did not pass the test of temptation”.

Questions asked J. Jurass which he refused to answer:

1) Did you have to submit an explanation to Security Police or other law enforcement facility about your and Aigars Sparans’ involvement in cigarette and oil product smuggling in 2017? If yes, what was the explanation?

2) Please describe yours relationship with State Revenue Service employee Janis Boroviks. Have you both offered anything in connection with solving businessman Vasilijs Krupenics legal problems? 

3) How do you explain that in 2007 an inmate from Central Prison named Mihails Dmitriks testified that with your recommendation he has basically found a criminal explosives “master”?

4) While working in Security Police, did you take any actions against Gunars Dabolins the then head of State Borderguard? If yes, please describe these actions and the need for them.

5) How do you explain your actions in 2007 trying to extort the needed testimonies from police lieutenant colonel Ruslans Dervans? What are your comments about the criminal proceedings against R. Dervans being closed later? 

6) Please describe your conversation in Matiss Prison from 2008 with the arrested Raimonds Janits, head of administration of City Development Department of Riga City Council. What methods did you use to get him to cooperate? Why did R. Janits’ lawyer did not participate in the conversation? How often have you had such conversations without a lawyer?

7) Please describe your relationship with businessman Boriss Gafts. Has he ever had any reason to make offers in your name?

Article was first published in newspaper Diena.

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