bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Wednesday 20.06.2018 | Name days: Rasa, Rasma, Maira
LatviaLatvia

Economic Diary of Latvia. Banana republic and skeletons in closets

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvian State Revenue Service, which lately has been positioning itself as a service organization that does not punish businessmen, but rather helps them, has quite a few skeletons in its closet, as it turns out.

The scandal regarding some of SRS’ employees that live quite wealthy lives received a continuation this week in the form of a protest outside of the Cabinet of Ministers. Participants of this protest demanded the government and the finance minister to dismiss the head of SRS Inara Petersone. However, Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola promised Petersone support in cleaning up SRS of dishonest workers, not dismissal. Petersone has been tasked with preparing a list of potentially dishonest employees and proposals for getting rid of them. According to the minister, it is important to understand how Estonia with 1,000 tax service employees manages to collect more taxes than Latvia with 4,000 tax service employees.

Everything began with LTV Low Blow programme’s report about relatives of SRS employee Roberts Dirnens and his brother Kaspars Aleksandrovs owning expensive cars and major real estate properties. It is suspected that money used to procure those properties came from money laundering schemes.

The brothers received inheritance from their mother worth USD 500,000. Robins Dirnens – Roberts Dirnens’ 23-year-old son – already owns two brand new apartments, land in Riga and elite Sunisi cottage area in Garkalne, all considering his father’s salary of EUR 800.

Aleksandrovs’ daughter, Madara Dirnena, who is also a member of the board of the recently founded Re&Law Consultation, has already bought four cars: a shuttle bus, two exclusive Range Rover cars and an expensive BMW model (worth EUR 250,000).

Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis was furious about this: ‘I have a question – where are interior security services and all other responsible services looking?’

It seems his complaints fell on deaf ears, because deputy director general of SRS and head of the service’s security department Aigars Indzens attended the press-conference dedicated to the explanation of the situation with suspicious financial state of SRS employees wearing Carrera Tiger Wood wristwatch. This fact was reported by Bez Tabu programme of TV3. According to information from the programme, the price of that watch in Latvia is EUR 4,100. Undzens’ salary was EUR 1,867 in 2015. According to his declaration, he earned EUR 32,498.20 from his salary in SRS in 2014. He also received EUR 100.24 in the form of deposit interest. He also has savings worth EUR 48,514.80 in the bank. He also owns a Mini Cooper and an apartment in Bauska.

The best possible result with the lowest possible cost

Considering the aforementioned facts, the recent announcement from Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola about Latvia’s entry into Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and how the country would cease being a banana republic came as an insult.

One of the main advantages of membership in OECD serves as guarantee for investors, a seal of quality. Because the country that is a member of OECD is more attractive for investors, it also contributes to the influx of investments.

Having a tax service with a reputation as described above will make it very hard to get a seal of quality. As BNN had previously reported, talks regarding Latvia’s membership in OECD have been delayed by a year. It was previously planned that talks would conclude in 2015. However, the assessment process went for too long. In addition, it is set to continue in 2016. In particular, OECD published a report in October 2015. In it, the organization stated serious concerns about the level of corruption in Latvia’s banking sector. OECD experts expressed concerns that 14 out of 20 banks registered in Latvia service foreigners, whose deposits make up more than half of the EUR 30 billion invested in Latvia’s banking system.

First and foremost quality of OECD is that this organization has leading expertise in the field of economic analysis, economic forecasting and ways of solving problems in the field of public administration of virtually all spheres of activities. OECD carried out enormous analytical work in many different areas. This includes investments, corporate management and state administration, pensions, education, fisheries, ecology, etc. Based on this analysis, the organization comes up the best possible practices or optimal solutions to achieve the best possible results with the lowest possible costs.

Activation of the previously inactive

In a sense, SRS has managed to achieve the best possible result with the lowest costs. However, this accomplishment will be viewed in detail by law enforcement institutions.

Employment seems to have become another field in which it was possible to achieve a good result with only available resources. As reported by the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, the country’s unemployment level was 9.9% in 2015, which is 0.9 percentage points lower than the year before. In addition, employment growth took place not merely because of the reduction in the number of the unemployed, but also because of inclusion of previously inactive people in the market.

The labour market will continue heating up this year, experts believe. It is expected that the proportion of job seekers will drop below 9%. But even now it is clear that unemployment for people with skills in demand has decreased to the pre-crisis level. Although unemployment for less qualified labourers remains high, it is expected to decline following economic growth.

Ref: 017.109.109.7825


Leave a reply

CPCB officers detain Kaimiņš after Saeima meeting

Officers of Latvia’s Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau detained Saeima deputy Artuss Kaimiņš after the end of the parliament’s meeting.

Around 15% of Estonian 15-19-year-olds estimated to have mental illness

In Estonia, an estimated total of 20,000-40,000 adolescents, comprising 10-20% of all teenage Estonians, have been found to suffer from a mental illness and close to 3,000 children have been prescribed antidepressants.

Chief: Anti-Money Laundering Service should not submit to a single person

Anti-Money Laundering Service should not be controlled by a single person, says chief of the Control Service Ilze Znotiņa.

Saeima permits commencement of criminal process against Artuss Kaimiņš

This week Latvia’s Saeima voted in favour of the decision to detain and then perform a search in the home of Saeima member Artuss Kaimiņš from KPV LV political party.

U.S. withdraws from UN Human Rights Council voicing sharp criticism

The U.S. has withdrawn from the United Nations Human Rights Council describing the body as being politically biased and not working towards reducing human rights violations globally.

Latvian minister confirms interrogation by Lithuanian investigators

In the case regarding possible corruption in the National Blood Centre, Lithuanian services have interrogated Latvia’s Healthcare Minister Anda Čakša, as confirmed by the official.

Recreational use of marijuana legalised in Canada

Canadian Parliament has adopted a law legalising the recreational use of marijuana nationwide after medical use of the drug has been allowed since 2001. Canada is to become the second country in the world allow buying marijuana for recreational use.

Human Rights Committee: KGB documents should be made publicly accessible

Documents left from Latvian SSR KGB office are part of national document heritage and therefore should be handed over for lifetime storage and be made publicly accessible for research in Latvia’s National Archive.

Non-negotiated contracts; fictive deals: digital television introduction schemes for «mere mortals»

The criminal process revolving around digital television project’s realization in Latvia was launched 15 years ago – in 2003. And it began with a search in a company owned by Andris Šķēle. After that, the list of involved people started expanding with names like Andrejs Ēķis, Jurģis Liepnieks and others.

Doctors unjustifiably charged fees for services worth 255,000 last year

Last year, authorities found that medical institutions that provide state budget-financed healthcare services had charged fees for services worth EUR 254,994, according to data compiled by Health Inspectorate.

Budget Committee picks Swedbank economist for Bank of Latvia Council

On Tuesday, 19 June, Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee unanimously decided to submit to the Saeima a decision project regarding approval of Mārtiņš Kazāks for the post of member of the council of the Bank of Latvia, as confirmed by Saeima’s press-service.

Farmers Saeima proposes declaring state of emergency in Latvia’s agriculture sector

Farmers Saeima association has sent a letter to Latvia’s State Chancellery, Agriculture Ministry, Finance Ministry and Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments, detailing a request addressed to the Cabinet of Ministers and Saeima to declare a state of emergency in the country’s agriculture sector because of the lasting drought.

IT specialist’s lawyers appeal client's arrest in recent restaurant case

Lawyers of Edgars Štrombergs, who is the accused party in the Vairāk saules restaurant cash register data manipulation case, have appealed the security measure applied to him, as confirmed by sworn attorney Mareks Halturins.

Russian and Belarusian arms control experts hosted by Lithuania

Russian and Belarusian arms control inspectors have been hosted by Lithuania as NATO forces trained across the Baltic states and Poland in exercise Saber Strike 2018.

Latvia’s ports suffer freight volume decline in first five months of 2018

Latvian ports handled 27.072 million tonnes of freight in the first five months of this year, which is 7.5% less when compared to the same period of last year, according to data compiled by Transport Ministry.

Bicycle rickshaws in Tallinn will need safety belts from July

Seeking to regulate the provision of bicycle rickshaw services in the Estonian capital, the Tallinn City Council has is to more particular bicycle rickshaw regulations that would align the services closer to car taxis.

158 election sites to open in Riga during next Saeima elections

A total of 158 election sites are planned to be opened in Riga for this autumn’s Saeima elections, as confirmed by documents prepared by Riga City Council.

30% of Latvian residents are dissatisfied with their family’s financial state

Residents’ overall mood has declined considerably across all survey positions. Residents have become the most negative about Latvia’s economic situation – 31% of them believe it has worsened. When asked to voice their outlooks for Latvia’s economy in a year from now, 17% of respondents said it will have improved, according to results of Baltic International Bank’s latest Latvian Barometer.

Apple fined 5 million euros for customer rights violations in Australia

A court in Australia has ruled that U.S. tech firm Apple has to pay a fine of 5.7 million euros refusing to repair iPhones and iPads that had been serviced by third parties as those actions breached consumer law.

Latvian coalition still torn about attracting highly-qualified guest workers

Because of differences in opinions among ministries, Latvia’s government is unlikely to support and view the proposal to ease the issue of EU blue card to highly-qualified guest workers without appropriate higher education, says Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis.

Corruption watchdog requests criminal prosecution of Bank of Latvia head

Latvia’s Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has sent materials of a criminal case to the prosecutor’s office with a request to commence criminal prosecution of Bank of Latvia governor Ilmārs Rimšēvičs and businessman Māris Martinsons.

Riga City Council votes to add Vidzeme market to Riga Central Market’s capital

Riga City Council’s City Property Development Committee has voted in favour of adding Vidzeme Market to AS Riga Central Market’s capital. Opposition members voted against this during the meeting.

Police dismantle criminal group specialising in storage and transportation of excise goods

Officers of Latvia’s State Revenue Service discovered a suspicious shipment during a routine inspection of a vehicle at Riga Passenger Port. With help from State Police, officers found more than 2.3 million illegal cigarettes and 960 litres of spirit, as confirmed by police.

airBaltic receives its ninth Bombardier CS300 aircraft

On 17 June, Latvia’s airBaltic airline received its ninth Bombardier CS300 aircraft. The airline plans to expand its existing aircraft fleet with 14 CS300 aircraft before the end of the year.

Employment agency invites employers to apply for new job support programme

Employers will be able to apply for participation in a programme of the European Social Fund to help create subsidized jobs for unemployed people. Eighteen offices of Latvia’s State Employment Agency will be offering registration until 27 June.