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Friday 23.02.2018 | Name days: Haralds, Almants

Expert: Flick - not the only one at fault for airBaltic problems

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Bertolt Flick

“I have a feeling that those filing a claim against Bertolt Flick, ex-CEO of the Latvian national airline airBaltic, are blaming him for all possible losses, including those that have resulted from negligence of other people,” says aviation expert Talis Linkaits.

“From what I have seen I can say that the claim has been exaggerated to improve the airline’s annual report and strengthen the country’s position in the negotiations with Flick and the former investors. I think that the proceedings will be long and will interfere with the company’s efforts to attract investors. Eventually, they will reach some kind of a compromise,” he writes on his blog.

Linkaits is referring to proceedings launched by the Riga Regional Court. They concern intentionally harmful acts committed by Bertolt Flick, when he was the sole board member of the Latvian national airline airBaltic.

Flick is blamed for sealing unprofitable contracts and taking up fake commitments with Investbank, as well as spontaneous and unfounded flight cancellations at short notice to passengers. He is also believed to have abused power by signing contracts with self-owned or affiliated companies.

Besides, ex-airBaltic CEO allegedly manipulated with the company’s trademarks, handing over sensible data and damaging the airline’s reputation.

According to Linkaits, airBaltic suffered losses also because of the agreement signed by the state of Latvia and Baltic Aviation Systems (BAS). It oversaw disproportionate rights to the private shareholder. The expert also puts some blame on airBaltic council members, who failed to establish a monitoring system.

“The holder of the state’s share – the Ministry of Transport also contributed to the losses, because it appointed unprofessional but politically motivated council members.”

The expert also blames the state as such for failing to decide on boosting the company’s equity capital in 2011.

He adds that one should not forget that there might be other proceedings underway. This time – between the state of Latvia and the former airBaltic investors and shareholders. The proceedings could be launched on the basis of the hasty government’s decision to seize airBaltic shares owned by BAS. This was carried out by the collapsed Latvijas Krajbanka’s administrator.

“Latvia should have been more careful when investing that huge tax money into the airline,” he says.

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