Latviski English По-русски
Tuesday 23.01.2018 | Name days: Strauta, Grieta

1:1: Lembergs admits not remembering what he says; Jurass says Strelchenok worked for people involved in oligarchs case

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«What Lembergs is doing now is simply trolling and fooling. He still things there are people in Latvia who still believe him,» said former head of Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau’s Operative Investigations department Juris Jurass in a heated discussion with Aivars Lembergs hosted by LTV programme 1:1. Jurass especially emphasized that it is important to react and assess in which part of oligarchs case statute of limitation has yet to come into force and where it is possible to restart investigation.

The oligarch talks recorded in a room of Ridzene Hotel are already called classic in their respectable genre – a method for evaluating the quality of work performed by law enforcement institutions and a method for telling how Latvia’s elite uses state power for their own personal gain. What should officials responsible for the criminal case’s progression in court take into account? LTV programme 1:1 decided to find out.

This time the duel organized by 1:1 involved the now former head of Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau’s Operative Investigations department Juris Jurass and infamous Ventspils resident Aivars Lembergs.

The programme’s host Gundars Reders commenced the duel with a question: can the oligarch talks be considered authentic? Jurass, now a Riga City Council deputy, immediately said he does not want to view a discussion with Lembergs as a duel, saying that «my duel with comrade Lembergs ended ten years ago, the moment I organized his arrest and evidence collection. So you see – his duel is now with the court.»

«I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of those talks, considering that a number of individuals who had participated in those talks have neither denied nor confirmed it,» said Jurass, going back to the question asked by the host. When asked if it was Jurass who leaked evidence, he said a strict no, adding that such claims are voiced almost all the time. In addition, Jurass said that the person who did leak this evidence should be congratulated for allowing all of Latvia’s population to listen and read through the interesting material.

When Lembergs was given his turn to speak, he immediately accused of lies and inconsistencies in his responses made in different interviews. When asked if he had, in fact, taken part in the scandalous talks in Ridzene Hotel, Lembergs evaded the question by sarcastically saying that he has been taking part in different conversations since the age of 2. «And I don’t keep in mind the places and the things I say. There is no way for me to check if someone records conversations and whether or not the recorded footage is authentic. Respectively, if I am the one participating, am I really the one there?» Lembergs shared his thoughts.

He did confirm meeting with Ainars Slesers and the Transport Minister. He then proceeded to dance in a circle around the issue, saying that he was never mentioned by name by any of participants of the talks, rather just «AL», which, according to Aivars Lembergs, does not incriminate him the slightest. In addition, he said KNAB had never interviewed him about any talks.

Turning attention to the quality of the investigation, Reders reminded the audience about the speech Juta Strīķe made in 2011. In it, she mentioned that 11 individuals, 6 officials, 26 commercial associations were involved in the investigation of oligarchs case. In addition, there were 5 requests for assistance from foreign institutions and 42 searches performed, which should have given at least some results. In the end, however, nothing happened. And so the question was asked as to why the investigation concluded with no results.

Jurass said that the evidence that was collected during the investigation were sufficient to launch criminal prosecution and send the case to court.

«Even at the very beginning of the criminal process we faced a number of obstacles. For example, the Saeima decided not to permit a search in Ainars Slesers’ home and many other locations. And I can once again say that there was no sufficient cooperation with the prosecutor’s office.»

‘I also have to admit that KNAB’s previous leaders did all they could to impede this criminal process. I can mention Juta Strīķe’s case – she was dismissed five times! I believe it was because she was in charge of this specific criminal process,’ Jurass said.

The former investigator also said he has no doubts that Yaroslavs Strelschenoks worked in the interest of the people held suspect of criminal acts. When asked if Lembergs is among those people, Jurass said he cannot exclude such a possibility.

In response to such a claim, Lembergs said: «Of course I am the one responsible for everything. I’m not about to look for excuses». At the same time, Lembergs, who is on record of saying he has difficulty remembering the places he has been and the things he has said, demonstrated a surprisingly sharp memory for different details and dates associated with other people. «As for the so-called oligarchs case, this person right here – Juris Jurass – was the one who sent recorded footage to Strīķe as potential evidence on 17 May, 2011.»

«Jurass was the one who selected everything, no one else did. This also means he did not send all important materials to her. So the question is whether or not Mr. Jurass acted selectively and irresponsibly when performing his duties, for which he was paid a monthly wage of EUR 3,000. The answer is there are signs of corruption,» Lembergs said.

Jurass denied Lembergs’ accusations. «Mr. Lembergs clearly has no understanding of the concept and processes involved with a criminal process and what materials should be added to accompanying materials. Once all associated materials acquired during the investigation have been properly assessed, the most important documents were, indeed, selected to make up the criminal process and other materials that would later serve as evidence.»

During the programme, participants discussed a number of other matters, including illegal activities at Riga Commercial Port. Lembergs did not answer questions associated with this matter, but he did ask counter-questions, leading the conversation away from the core matter and later calling all that «foolish babble».

As usual, instead of answering questions, Lembergs proceeded to accuse journalists and the programme’s host Reders of unprofessionalism, saying that the journalist made a mistake phrasing the question.

Lembergs said he has never owned anything indirectly, «neither in secret, not openly».

Jurass mentioned he has no doubts that Lembergs does have business interests at Riga Commercial Port.

«Skele and Slesers have legalized their ownership rights in Riga Commercial Port. Determining was one of the main objectives of the criminal process. I would like to add that the criminal process was being handled without Strīķe and myself for a period of several years. I remain confident that we could have and should have proved that. The question is why KNAB and the prosecutor’s office decided to end it in the final stages. […] How could they end a process when both officials’ participation in the company was already legalized? How? I don’t understand!»

I have a question for the prosecutor general and supervisory prosecutor – how is such a thing even possible? Jurass says it is necessary to react and evaluate in which parts of the criminal process statute of limitations has yet to come into force and where it is still possible to continue the investigation.

Conversations between politicians and businessmen recorded in Ridzene hotel served as one of the main pieces of evidence in the so-called Oligarch case launched in 2011.

Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau spend years investigating this case. Unfortunately, it turned out that the tapped conversations are not enough to raise charges, so the criminal process was ended.

The criminal case became topical again after Ir magazine published a transcript of conversations possibly recorded as part of oligarch case.


Leave a reply

Italy's leading party drops euro referendum plan

The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, leading opinion polls ahead of a March 4 election, has presented a 20-point program which makes no mention of a referendum on Italy’s membership of the euro zone.

Latvia shares experience in civil rights reforms with Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is one of Latvia’s priority countries for development of cooperation. Considering Uzbekistan’s launched reforms for state administration, Latvia is ready to continue offering support and sharing experience, says Foreign Ministry’s special assignment ambassador Igors Apokins.

Estonian state rail cargo company worked with million-euro losses in 2017

Estonian state-owned rail cargo carrier EVR Cargo concluded the year 2017 with net losses of 1.2 million euros, but managed to earn a million euros in from October to December 2017.

Alcohol industry to adopt social responsibility symbols on labels

More than 60% of all labels of wine and other strong alcoholic beverages purchasable in Latvia will be added with a special social responsibility symbols, reminding residents of responsible consumption of alcohol, BNN was informed by Latvian Alcohol Industry Association (LAIA). initiative «On saving Agenskalns market» submitted to Riga City Council

An initiative started by Anda Baidekalna «On saving Agenskalns market» has been submitted to Riga City Council for review. More than 2,000 people signed in favour of this initiative on portal. Now Riga City Council will have to decide on approval of this initiative and develop a plan for development of Agenskalns market to preserve its functionality.

Estonian construction price rise influenced most by higher labour costs

Estonian construction price index grew by 1.5% in 2017 aligned with the average of 2016, Estonian statisticians calculated.

Latvian Economy Ministry proposes self-regulatory measures for postal sector

The problem with postal items lacking addresses can be resolved using self-regulatory measures in the postal industry, as mentioned in Economy Ministry’s prepared report on new measures and proposal for mechanisms to help make the work performed by the postal sector more efficient.

Venice tourists stunned over 1 100-euro restaurant bill

The leadership of the picturesque Italian town of Venice has pledged to ensure justice after four Japanese tourists complained of having been handed a 1,100-euro bill for steaks, water, service and a plate of fried fish.

Ratification of Istanbul Convention falls through in Latvia

Unity is the only one of the coalition parties in Latvia that has expressed support for the ratification of Istanbul Convention so far, politicians say.

Spain sees Puigdemont's trip to Denmark as provoking his own arrest

A judge of the Spanish Supreme Court has blamed Catalonia's former President Carles Puigdemont of seeking to provoke his own arrest by visiting Denmark from his country of exile, Belgium, as the politician faces charges carrying a possible prison sentence of up to 30 years.

Latvenergo: Latvia is the largest energy exporter in Baltic States

Latvia continues exporting electrical energy produced in the country – as of Monday, 22 January, it was 832 MW. Especially intensive energy production is recorded for Daugava’s hydro-electric power plants and Riga’s CHP plants. The largest import volume is registered for Lithuania, to which the amount of exported energy equals the amount consumed in Latvia, Latvenergo explains.

LALRG secretary general: we have to reduce gap in quality of life for EU citizens

Ever since Latvia joined the European Union, its population has declined 14%. The most significant decline was caused by the departure of residents of working age to other EU member states. Because of that, the population in eastern regions of Latvia has declined 23%.

Czechs up for close race in this week's presidential run-off

As the Czech Republic nears the second round of its presidential election this weekend, sociologists estimate that the pro-Western academic Jiří Drahoš enjoys a somewhat larger support than the incumbent Miloš Zeman, who easily won the first round.

Producer price level in Latvia’s industry up 3.1%

Compared to December 2016, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry rose by 3.1 % in December 2017. Prices of products sold on the domestic market rose by 3.0 %, while prices of exported products went up by 3.3 %. Prices of products exported to euro area countries grew by 3.8 %, whereas prices of products exported to non-euro area countries rose by 2.9 %.

MEP: an even greater UGF dominance would slow down Latvia’s development

If the Union of Greens and Farmers (UGF) gains an even greater presence in the upcoming Saeima elections, Latvia’s continued development would suffer, said member of the European Parliament Artis Pabriks in an interview to 900 seconds programme of LNT.

Tax reform challenge in January: labour tax recalculation

2018 commenced for Latvia with a historical tax reform and conceptual changes, significantly affecting everyday work performed by businessmen, employers and accountants. One of the changes financial specialists have to remember when calculating wages for January is the one for personal income tax, which also includes changes for state social insurance fees and solidarity tax, BNN was told by accounting experts.

Total tax debts in Latvia reach 1.217 billion euros at beginning of 2018

At the beginning of the year, total tax debts in Latvia, including existing debts, halted debts and debts with extended repayment debts, reached EUR 1.217 billion, which is 3% less when compared with the previous month, as reported by the State Revenue Service.

Estonia emphasises animal welfare as demand for animal food products grows

Although the demand for food products from animals is increasing, attention should be paid both animal welfare and sustainability in agriculture, Estonia's Minister for Rural Affairs Tarmo Tamm has stated.

Latvia hopes to recover its status as a country free of swine fever

There is hope that Latvia may yet recover its status of a country free of swine fever, says Food and Veterinary Service’s (FVS) Animal Infections Monitoring Department lead expert Mārtiņš Seržants.

Estonia prepares to inform population of actions in case of emergency or war

Estonia is preparing a brochure on how its population should act in case of major crisis or war.

De Facto: international lawsuit against Latvia is associated with infamous Winergy case

Norvik Bank’s lawsuit against Latvian state in the international court of arbitration in Washington is associated with Winergy wind park business, as reported by De Facto programme of LTV. The bank has yet to announce the amount of money it wishes to enforce from the state

German Social Democrats vote to U-turn on coalition talks with Merkel's conservatives

In Germany, where four months after its federal parliamentary elections there is still no government, the Social Democrats have voted to enter coalition talks with the conservatives led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Weather in Latvia to become warmer this week; thaw to settle in

Weather in Latvia will be dictated by an anticyclone at the beginning of the week. Precipitation is only expected in some areas, mostly in the north. The sky will be cloudy for the most part. Still some sun is expected every now and then, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Turkey crosses into Syria to attack Kurdish militia

Turkey's ground forces have entered the territory of neighbouring Syria strengthening Ankara's offensive to push Kurdish militia, considered to be terrorists by Turkey, away from the border.

Week in Lithuania. Fake news on Lithuanian Defence Minister planted on news portal

The Tv3. lt news website was hacked on Thursday, January 18 - a fake news story about Lithuanian Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis was posted claiming that Karoblis allegedly harassed Ridas Jasiulionis, a journalist at the Žinių Radijas radio station, and admitted being gay.

Would you be ready to boycott something in your life?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Polls Archive

Category feed: Feed: