“I hope that this so-called gang has been completely taken off the track including all influential networks. I also hope that our special institutions have learned an important lesson from this. This story has been going on for more than ten years during which neither the institution leaders nor leading politicians pretended not to see activities of these people.” This is what Maris Kucinskis, the former National Security Committee leader, in March told Diena about the former Defence Office employee Aigars Sparans also mentioning “his friend” Juris Jurass – former employee of Anti-Corruption Bureau (KNAB) and former Saeima politician.
If A. Sparans’ career has ended with him losing his job in Defence Office and currently being a suspect in illegal gathering of secret national intel and bribery, then J. Jurass has evaded such trouble. At least for now. He has visited war-torn Ukraine and has gained significant publicity because of that, and currently is one of the first numbers of election list from Konservativie party. However, material gathered, and research performed by Diena for several months shows that “the stench” around J. Jurass’ activities has existed for years but has not been as public as in A. Sparans’ case, and law enforcement establishments have had many intense discussions about it.
Vasiljevs paid bribes to Jurass through his relative
Riga Vidzeme suburb court has started examining accusations of Janis Adamsons being a spy. Among the case files there are some messages author of which is allegedly the former Security Police employee Arturs Smaukstelis. Altogether there are 61 files where J. Jurass is mentioned and large parts of the files more or less point to one and the same – most likely criminal activities.
In a lot of files A. Smaukstelis information sources and “contacts” have directly pointed to J. Jurass taking part in corrupt activities. In one of them it was mentioned that “During the conversation “brother by name” mentioned the following: in connection with the arrest of [Valerijs] Vaslijevs who for many years paid bribes to Juris Jurass Vasiljevs is very angry at J. Jurass and is emotionally ready to deliver to instances in charge significant information about J. Jurass corruption (specific cases when bribes were taken).”
It was mentioned in a report from 16th of May from the last year that “According to the source it is possible that for an extended period J. Jurass’ cousin was working for Vasiljevs. She was officially an employee on an oil product base which belonged to Vasiljevs. The contact has heard that J. Jurass’ relative was responsible for finances and book-keeping in Vasiljevs’ company. (…) Vasiljevs also paid bribes to Jurass through his relative (in the form of salary).”
Another report clearly states that another conversation with V. Vasiljevs has been “documented”: “There are indicators that a conversation with V. Vasiljevs has been documented where he openly states that he has been using Aigars Sparans and Juris Jurass “roof services” and pays them for a coverup. The contact promised to deliver the documented conversation so that institutions could use it to arrest V. Vasiljevs (for a short time) and force to give statements against J. Jurass and A. Sparans.
During the conversation, the contact mentioned that there is a documented conversation with former State Police employee Aliks Baumanis during which he openly states information connected with state secrets which are delivered to him by State Police (about operative cases, people involved in operative cases and performed actions), his “contact” in State Security who helps “the most honest policeman Andrejs Sozinovs” and about “tops” connected to Aliks and A. Sozinovs and organized crime groups.
Sparans and Jurass tried to establish a top for Millers’ business
J. Jurass has been mentioned many times in the files in connection with “business relationships” also with other businessmen. For instance, there is a described “meeting with an informant” on June 1, 2020, who told that “Renars Rutkis, the son of former KNAB substitute director Guntis Rutkis, is one of the people in charge of “procurement” within Riga City Council. By using corruption, connections and close relationships with former mayor of Riga City Council Nils Usakovs and “exits” to mr. 20% (Andris Ameriks) R. Rutkis “successfully wins” in various Riga City Council procurements, often starting with a new company which has never offered equal services. (…)
According to the informant R. Rutkis, despite once being a suspect in KNAB cases in connection with several Road Administration deals about delivery of services and materials, has established close relationships with former KNAB employee Juris Jurass to whom he pays bribes (unknown if directly or through someone) for “loyalty to him and the top” and for “suspicious” Riga City Council procurements.
However, on June 10, 2020, A. Smaukstelis “contacted businessman Maris Millers to meet and secretly try to get more information about the time when members of the “state organized crime group” Aigars Sparans and Juris Jurass were in close vicinity to M. Millers and tried to “establish a top for M. Millers’ business” to get profit from it. As a “reason” to get closer to M. Millers’ business and his companions there were used “operative news” about M. Millers’ connection to cigarette contraband and other smugglers. In case if M. Millers during a conversation will be open and talkative it can be used to meet with operatives who fight against “state organized crime group”.
Another source explicitly points to a possible connection between J. Jurass and criminal authority Jurijs Polkovnikovs. “March 5, 2011, 35 year old Maksims Gavrilovs was found murdered in Riga, Ziepniekkalns suburb. In his time he was involved in organizing a riot in Latvian National School of Sports. (..) In connection with M. Gavrilovs murder it is clear that the orderer of his murder is Jurijs Polkovnikovs who is wanted for murder also in Russian Federation. It is known that J. Polkovnikovs is an agent of the Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB) who, when beginning cooperation with SAB, ensured himself a residence permit in Latvia.
Curator of J. Polkovnikovs was former SABB employee Aigars Sparans. Currently there is another SAB employee in contact with J. Polkovnikovs. It is known that SAB frequently uses J. Polkovnikovs to intrude processes where it is possible to earn money, extort money, create a top etc. It is also known that J. Polkovnikovs in the name of A. Sparans has extorted two valuable land plots in Baltezers from another businessman. It is also known that J. Polkovnikovs’ “criminal services” are used by former KNAB employee Juris Jurass (to beat someone, create a top, etc.).”
J. Jurass’ name has sounded publicly many times in connection with cigarette contraband and has been mentioned, for example, in connection with illegal cigarette production in Daugavpils, where a group of smugglers was detained by borderguards on April 22, 2021.
“On April 23, 2021, news came that Viktors Gornaks with his son are behind the illegal cigarette factory and manufacturing. V. Gornaks is known among the organized crime groups as a person who for many years was involved in VAT fraud on a large scale, contraband and money laundering. V. Gornaks was once Vikauto owner and father og Julija Peredelska, wife of murdered businessman Genadijs Peredelskis.”
Former State Security employee Arturs Smaukstelis during his service had a close communication with the sister of murdered Genadijs Peredelskis. Hence why A. Smaukstelis received a lot of information about G. Peredelskis, his wife J. Peredelska and her father Viktors Gornaks. All of the information was included in service reports. (..)
A. Smaukstelis has not been in contact with G. Peredelskis relatives for a long time but all contacts remained and communication with them can be renewed. While communicating with them A. Smaukstelis heard that V. Gornaks was connected with separate KNAB and SAB officials who “paid money” to hide their criminal activities (it is possible that former KNAB employee Juris Jurass and former SAB employee Aigars Sparans were involved).
There are people from Jurass’ team placed close to Girgens
There are several law enforcement officers who were among J. Jurass’ contacts mentioned in A. Smaukstelis reports which, at least partially, explain the lack of involvement of these institutions in “noticing” information connected to him and methods used by him, and adequately react to it.
With reference to a conversation with an “informant” that took place on April 28, 2020, A. Smaukstelis has presented detailed information about former Minister of Internal Affairs Sandis Girgens attempts to “evade communication with former State Police officials who were solving bribery cases through court with the help of S. Girgens and who helped S. Girgens to become Minister of Internal Affairs by supporting him financially and through media. The mentioned “former State Police officials” had plans to plant people close to them in key positions within the Ministry of Internal Affairs to control the flow of cases under the subordination of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and its subsidiaries.
S. Girgens stopped communicating with “former State Police officials” because when he became a minister Jurass’ helpers gathered extensive information about him and took control over him. According to the information source S. Girgens understood that he was “f…ed” and he is ashamed to meet with people who supplied him with “corrupt bread” for many years and for whom he could not do anything when becoming minister of internal affairs.
A few months later, in October of the same year, there was a “meeting with contact” who, according to the report, got an impression about S. Girgens relationship with “Juris Jurass’ team” from the minister himself. During the conversation, the contact mentioned the following moments which became known from communication with S. Girgens:
1. The former Omega commander Juris Grabovskis helped S. Ģirgens to pick the State Police official (Armands Ruks) who could be appointed as head of State Police and with whom he personally had a three-hour conversation before recommending him as candidate to S. Girgens.
2. S. Girgens wanted to see Juris Grabovskis in his team a long time ago however the current communication with J. Grabovskis is happening “unofficially”. S. Girgens does not take J. Grabovskis in Ministry of Internal Affairs because there are people from Jurass’ team next to him. For example, Signe Bole who “follows everything” that is happening with the minister and around the minister. Recently the minister discovered that one of the secret documents from the Ministry of Internal Affairs has gone missing. S. Girgens is trying to find this document and suspects that Signe Bole could have taken this document (unfortunately, there is no detailed information about which document it could be).
3. The contact said that State Police Riga Regional Office (with their employees or involving detectives) follow every S. Girgens’ move and the head of State Police Riga Regional Office [Andrejs Sozinovs] regularly sends photos of S. Girgens talking to someone. That way he lets him know he is under full “regional control”.
4. The minister of internal affairs hopes to change the situation within State Police and Ministry of Internal Affairs when Armands Ruks will start performing duties of the head of the State Police. The State Police is facing reorganization and many leading employees will be dismissed from their positions. The same is planned for Ministry of Internal Affairs. According to the contact State Security does not completely trust S. Girgens. The contact believes that J. Jurass still has extensive control there and that State Security are Jurass’ people.
5. At the end of the conversation the contact mentioned that S. Girgens found out that as soon as there are large drug shipments sent into Latvia employees connected with drug investigations from all State Police Riga Regional Offices are being sent on forced vacations as this business is fully “covered” by the head of the State Police Riga Regional Office.
There is a belief that Stukans is loyal and supports Jurass and his team
The former minister of internal affairs is not the only one mentioned in A. Smaukstelis reports about gathering compromising information with the help of which the person in question could be controlled. If the reports are believed to be true, similar situations have happened to former State Police director Ints Kuzis and the new attorney general Juris Stukans.
On August 25, 2020, there were news from the contact that the former State Police director Ints Kuzis became freelance adviser to prime minister Krisjanis Karins as part of a task connected with state organized crime groups. “This fact compromised I. Kuzis (during the time when he was first declared the director os State Police) and the act of him taking bribes was documented” says one of the reports.
The documented material was many years used by state organized crime groups to control I. Kuzis and keep him within certain boundaries, to gain information and perform various “tasks” through him. The mentioned information is still effective and is being used by state organized crime group curators in contact with I. Kuzis.
Note – it is very possible that bribery involving I. Kuzis was documented by State Police Riga Regional Office employees who used to “walk in the office with secret recording devices (pen-microphone)” or by a former corrupt KNAB employee – Jurass or Strike. Taking into account the above mentioned a possibility to talk with prime minister should be taken into account because state organized crime access to prime minister creates certain state security risks.
It was mentioned in the reports even before J. Stukans officially became attorney general that “on June 11, 2020, (..) news came that mentally challenged Janis Bordans was also involved to announce J. Stukans for this position, that is why it is possible that J. Stukans is somehow connected with Bordanists-Jekapists (in my opinion I believe there is a “blue team” behind J. Stukans which fills up powerful positions and which has influence as great as that of the “state organized crime groups”).
There were some historical news that J. Stukans is a KNAB agent and there were rumors that when Russian spy Juta Strike was in KNAB the criminal and murderer Jurass recruited J. Stukans based on compromising information (pedophilia). The mentioned facts are very believable.
However, after J. Stukans got the position A. Smaukstelis’ reports mention information dated September 16, 2020, and which came from the new attorney general himself: “We received news from the contact that during a meeting with the new attorney general Jurs Stukans we got the impression that J. Stukans is loyal and supports Jurass and his “team”.
Note: it is quite possible that J. Stukans is in the position already one and a half or two months and it would be odd if Jurass and Co. would not be establishing connections with him. If the “entities” fighting against state organized crime groups waited and were too late it is “no wonder that state organized crime group took the initiative.”
It is worth mentioning that this “stench” around J. Jurass is not new and has not appeared suddenly. It has been following the “justice warrior” for many years but was always ignored by law enforcement. The next Diena publication will be an official State Security Bureau statement about this topic which as many others has been shoved deeper into the drawer. At least for now.
Questions asked Juris Jurass in connection with this article and which he declined to answer:
1) Do you know the former State Security employee Arturs Smaukstelis? Does he have any reason for personal dislike towards you or wish to slander you?
2) What relationship exactly connects you with former SAB employee Aigars Sparans who is also charged with serious crime?
3) Have you ever contacted Valerijs Vasiljevs who is charged with smuggling? If yes, please describe the nature of this contact.
4) Has any of your relatives work in companies owned by V. Vasiljevs? If yes – who and in which company?
5) Have you been in any contact with Renars Rutkis? If yes, please describe the nature of this contact.
6) Have you been in any contact with Maris Millers? If yes, please describe the nature of this contact.
7) Have you been in any contact with Jurijs Polkovnikovs? If yes, please describe the nature of this contact.
8) Have you been in any contact with Viktors Gornaks? If yes, please describe the nature of this contact.
9) What kind of relationship do you have with former KNAB employee Signe Bole?
10) What kind of relationship do you have with former State Police employee Andrejs Sozinovs?
11) When and about what topics have you been in contact in the last two years with the current attorney general Juris Stukans?
12) Are you aware of gathering and using information about former State Police director Ints Kuzis, former minister of internal affairs Sandis Girgens and the current attorney general Juris Stukans?
The article was first published in the newspaper Diena.