Latviski English По-русски
Wednesday 20.06.2018 | Name days: Rasa, Rasma, Maira

Freeport blocked from funding Lembergs-related sports clubs

(No Ratings Yet)

A major advertising contract with the basketball club Ventspils and football club Ventspils has been suspended in Ventspils Free Port.

Both of the clubs were supposed to get a total of 687,000 lats ($1,3 million), excluding 21% VAT.

It should be added that the clubs are associated with the influence of the so-called old oligarch – Aivars Lembergs.

The 831,270 lats worth contract was blocked by the recently approved board member Girts Kronbergs on September 17. His candidacy was named by Reform Party.

Under the contract, both of the sports clubs were supposed to promote Ventspils Freeport until late 2013. Both the basketball club and the football club were about to receive 343 500 lats (excluding 21% VAT), reports the portal

Attempts to advocate sealing contracts for a period of two years, rather than one, are linked to alleged fear of Lembergs. In November, the Latvian government is set to decide on a tighter donation policy. So he is afraid that this will be the end of covert sponsorship under the disguise of advertising contracts.

However, Kronbergs recognizes that it might not be possible to block the second half of the amount from reaching the clubs.

“It’s too late. Back when officials were deciding on the Freeport’s 2012 budget, they agreed to earmark funds for both of the clubs.

The large-scale two-year advertising contract is not the only way the Freeport’s money reaches the basketball club Ventspils. This year alone it has already received at least 113,000 lats. Besides, the Freeport has already managed to sign two advertising contracts with the Lembergs’ club. The total value of each of them hits 56 500 lats.

The first one was sealed on April 24 and provided promotion of the Freeport during 2011/2012 playoffs. The second was concluded on May 3 and oversaw promotion of the Freeport during the matches of the UEFA Champions League 2012.

Pietiek stresses that Lembergs is President of the basketball club Ventspils, while the board consists of his associates. Lembergs and other Ventspils millionaires, such as Olafs Berkis and Igors Skoks are also among the few members of the club. Other – legal members – include various Ventspils transit companies, among which there are also those suspected of conflict of interest. Such allegations have been raised by Prosecutor’s Office on the suspicion that Lembergs owns shares in them.

According to Pietiek, advertising contracts with sports clubs affiliated with political parties is a way to flow tax money into them. Many have questioned whether it is really worth to pay thousands to have a freeport’s name printed on a basketball player’s shirt. Others raise worry about the transparency of spending tax money.

The fact that public companies choose to conclude advertising contracts with such sports clubs raises suspicion that this is done to cover affiliated parties’ pre-election campaigning costs.

To give an example, Edgars Jaunups, owner of the basket ball club VEF Riga, was long in charge of attracting funds from the political party Unity and previously also New Era Party.

His club received generous donations from both the Latvian State Forests and subsidiaries of the Latvian Railway. Its massive advertising campaign periodically occurs in both television and on advertising billboards.

The campaign was led by McCann Erickson Riga, owned by Ainars Scipcinskis. The company has also launched a number of pre-election campaigns for New Era Party and Unity.

LDz Cargo, a subsidiary of state-owned company Latvian Railway, has concluded an advertising contract with VEF Riga, which is supposed to receive 250 000 lats.

Another 900 000 lats Jaunups and Lembergs’ basketball clubs split in half in late 2011. The amount was paid by the Latvian State Forests, as both the men had exercised their political influence, reports the portal.


Leave a reply

Ukraine's anti-corruption court law insufficient to IMF commitments

The International Monetary Fund has commended the Ukrainian parliament for passing a law to establish an anti-corruption court and pointed to need to amend it to ensure the court can work effectively.

Opinion: they’re trying to shut us up; KPV LV is inconvenient for current government

«We are inconvenient for the current government, the established order, because for the first time a party is prepared to use facts in its rhetoric in the pre-election period. They are trying to shut us up,» said KPV LV prime minister candidate Aldis Gobzems at a press-conference after Artuss Kaimiņš was taken away by Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau.

Hydro and wind power plants produced 70.5% more electricity last year

In 2017 gross energy consumption in Latvia comprised 194.9 petajoules, which is 5.5 % more than in 2016. Over the past five years, the gross energy consumption has not changed significantly. However the share of renewable energy has increased by 2.55 percentage points.

Milder penalties for the accused in digital TV case; idea’s authors get no prison sentence

Riga Regional Court has released a shortened ruling in the so-called digital television criminal case. With it, the court acquitted previously convicted former director of Latvia’s National Theatre Ojārs Rubenis. Nevertheless, some of the accused have been sentenced to fines and actual prison time.

Estonian traitor Simm ruled to serve full 12.5 years in prison

A court in Tartu has decided that the Estonian Defence Ministry ex-official Herman Simm, found guilty of treason in 2009 and sentenced to 12.5 years in jail, has to serve his full sentence, not to be released earlier.

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.

Newest comments