President of Latvia Andris Berzins is not bothered by the fact that the Prosecutor General’s Office presented Aivars Lembergs with charges in serious crimes, and Riga Regional Court banned Lembergs from holding the position of Mayor of Ventspils. This conclusion can be made from the reply letters sent by Berzins advisor Liga Krapane on behalf of the state President to the deputies of the Ventspils City Council opposition.
It can also be concluded from Krapane’s reply letter that the President is not bothered whether Lembergs complies with the security measures that were imposed against him by the Prosecutor’s Office and the Court – the ban to hold the office of Mayor, because, «if some person is presented with security measures, the compliance of these measures is the foremost responsibility of law enforcement institutions and the stated person», Pietiek portal reports.
Krapane explains the President’s negligence for Lembergs’ status as the accused by mentioning the presumption of innocence, stating in the letter: «Even if Aivars Lembergs is presented with security measures that prevent him from taking office as Mayor of Ventspils, there is no reason to object and deny his appearance as a municipal resident and deputy on public events.»
BNN previously reported that opposition deputies of Ventspils City Council sent an open letter to the President of Latvia Andris Berzins in the beginning of June, stating the fact that the President chose not to meet with them, and saying that their [opposition deputies] rights are being limited with Lembergs’ blessing. They asked the President to explain why he chose to meet with the accused official who was denied the right to be Mayor of Ventspils and Chairman of the Board of Ventspils Free port by Riga Regional Court.
A year ago, when Berzins (as a deputy he represented the Greens’ and Farmers’ Union, the «godfather» of which is considered to be Lembergs, in the 10th Saeima) was elected as President of Latvia, there were rumours behind the scenes that this was achieved with Lembergs’ blessing. Berzins himself did not hide the fact that he discussed his candidacy for the post of state President with Lembergs before the elections. Also, reasons why Berzins remained as president of Latvia’s Unibank (now SEB Bank) are also related to Lembergs’ influence.
However, while the President met with Lembergs in the end of May, as part of his official visit to Ventspils, a completely different viewpoint was expressed by US ambassador to Latvia Judith Garber. The ambassador, following the ban of the Prosecutor’s Office and Riga Regional Court for Lembergs to fill the role of Mayor of Ventspils, did not meet with him during the planned visit to Ventspils. This means that the US embassy does not recognize Lembergs as Mayor of Ventspils.
«We understand that in accordance with the decision of the Prosecutor General’s Office Mr. Lembergs is forbidden to perform the duties of Mayor of Ventspils. As long as the accusations against Mr’ Lembergs are still being reviewed by Latvian Courts, any meeting of the US ambassador with Mr. Lembergs would be inappropriate,»- the US embassy responded to questions regarding Garber’s visit to Ventspils.
BNN also previously reported that the Prosecutor General’s Office, which maintains accusations against Lembergs in very serious crimes in Riga Regional Court, has made a number of steps that indicate that the question about stricter security measures against Lembergs could be discussed in the nearest time. This also includes the possibility of a house arrest. The Prosecutor General’s Office believes that the oligarch has violated the restrictions of the security measures to perform the duties of Mayor of Ventspils and Chairman of Ventspils Free port.