The murder case of Bunkus is brought to court. Will the perpetrators finally face a fair punishment?
After a lengthy investigation, the murder case of the attorney at law Martins Bunkus has been brought to court, and the commissioners and organisers of the murder will finally be in the dock. This is an unprecedented case in the history of Latvian judicial proceedings, when both the commissioner and the executor of a murder will be sitting in the dock in a crime of this level. Although the State Police has worked tirelessly to bring the perpetrators to justice, the relatives of the murder victim, Martins Bunkus, are now concerned that, as the case goes to court, those accused of the crime will use every means at their disposal to influence the court proceedings and evade responsibility for what they have done.
“Every hearing in which it was decided to maintain the precautionary measure of detention imposed on Mihails Ulmans and Aleksandrs Babenko showed that the commissioners and supporters of Martins’ murder are ready to use all means at their disposal to avoid responsibility for this crime. It is clear that these efforts will become even more ambitious when the case goes to court,”
said Kristaps Bunkus, spokesperson for the Martins Bunkus Justice Foundation and brother of the murdered Martins Bunkus.
The Foundation has previously raised the alarm that there are grounds to suspect that the commissioners and organisers of the murder of Martins Bunkus will use all possible means to influence the course of the investigation and the subsequent court proceedings, using methods such as implicating fake “alternative” suspects, sowing doubts in the public about the work of law enforcement authorities and manipulating the true circumstances of the case through fake news. The Foundation therefore calls on law enforcement authorities and the public to remain particularly vigilant and to prevent perpetrators from evading responsibility for the crime.
It has already been reported that on 24 May 2022, the State Police announced that one of the real beneficiaries of LPB Bank, Mihails Ulmans, and his long-time business partner, Aleksandrs Babenko, co-owner of “Mego”, had been detained on suspicion of commissioning and organising the murder of the attorney at law Martins Bunkus. The investigation has taken four years since the murder. On 24 November 2022, the State Police handed over the investigation file on the murder of Martins Bunkus, which consisted of 121 volumes of case files, to the Prosecutor’s Office of the Riga Court District. During the pre-trial proceedings, the defendants repeatedly sought to have the remand in custody changed. During a press conference on 8 December 2022, the Chief Prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Riga Court District, Armins Meisters, stated that the persons connected with the murder of Martins Bunkus acted as hardened criminals, not novices, whose way of life is the criminal world and its principles of operation and who in one or another role are also involved in other murders, illegal weapons activities, various other crimes typical of the world of organized crime.