Latviski English По-русски
Wednesday 18.10.2017 | Name days: Rolanda, Rolands, Ronalds, Erlends

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

17 persons in need of international aid are relocated to Latvia from Turkey

On Tuesday, 17 October, seventeen individuals, including nine children, in need of international protection were relocated to Latvia from Turkey as part of EU resettlement programme, as confirmed by Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.

BATL: to avoid crisis in transit sector, government and Transport Ministry must act

Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis’ led Latvian Ports, Transit and Logistics Council also supports Saeima’s National Economy Committee’s decision on the need for Transport Ministry to develop a long-term vision for the development of the country’s transit industry.

Psychologist: six-year-old children are not ready for school

«It is wrong to believe that the sooner a child starts going to school, the better their academic results will be. Reforms are performed aggressively, without asking pedagogues or other specialists for their opinion. We lack a comprehensive analysis of the current situation that would be based on studies, not international ratings,» says certified clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Jolanta Lamstere.

Klaipeda transport ticketing system to be installed by Estonian Ridango

In the Lithuanian port city of Klaipeda, Estonian firm Ridango has been selected for installing its technology on public transport.

Policeman in Malta posts he's happy about killing of journalist Galizia

In Malta, where an investigative journalist has been killed this week, a police sergeant has posted on Facebook he felt happy about her death and has been suspended from office a day after.

Exchange indexes reach new records; oil prices increase as well

Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index reached new record-high values on Tuesday, 17 October. US dollar value before euro and Japanese yen increased.

Anti-corruption protesters in Ukraine push for reforms

Three protesters and a policeman have been injured in Kyiv, Ukraine, as a crowd of anti-corruption demonstrators voiced their demands for reforms aimed at tackling corruption in the country.

«Islamic state» capital conquered by Syrian Democratic Forces

An alliance of Syrian-Kurdish fighters, which is supported by the U.S., has stated it has gained full control of Raqqa, which has been for three years the centre of the «Islamic state» regime.

Poland hopes Turkey would join EU

Polish President Andrzej Duda meeting his Turkish counterpart shortly before an European Union-Turkey summit has expressed a hope that the country located at the cross-roads between Europe and the Middle East would join the EU some time.

Number of people at risk of poverty in Baltics in higher than the average in EU

The ratio of people subjected to poverty or social exclusion risk in Baltic States is higher than the average in the European Union, according to Eurostat data compiled for 26 out of 28 member states in 2016.

E-voting defended in Estonia after criticism from party leader

Responding to claims from a leader of an Estonian political party that the country’s e-voting system lacks transparency, the head of e-Government Academy’s e-democracy department explained it was possible that the voters of one party are more active e-voters than supporters of other parties.

Residents’ mood worsens; people become more critical about their finances

Over the course of the past month, residents’ general mood has worsened significantly – declines have been noted on all positions analysed by the survey. Residents were critical the most in the survey about their material state – the index in this category declined from -9 to -11, according to the latest Baltic International Bank Latvian Barometer.

Antāne: Saeima’s National Economy Committee has heard the transit industry’s cry

Inga Antāne, president of Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics, is satisfied with the decision that was made at the recent meeting of Saeima’s Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee, asking the Transport Ministry to develop and present a sustainable development strategy for the industry and putting an emphasis on raising the competitiveness of railway tariffs.

Latvian’s attitude towards combating cancer in late stages seems irresponsible

The attitude towards combating cancer in late stages in Latvia remains very low, says former healthcare minister of Latvia Ingrīda Circene.

Hydrogen-powered transport technology – a reality in Latvia

There are plans to establish a hydrogen refuelling station in Riga before the end of 2017. A publicly available H2 refuelling station in Riga would secure an inter-state network of hydrogen refuelling stations: the closest other station will be established in Pernava, says Association Zero Emission Mobility Support chairman Arnis Bergs.

Estonian ministry to collect 270 000 euros from IT company over failure to build information system

Tieto Estonia, the Estonian branch of Finnish IT firm group Tieto will compensate the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs 270,000 euros for the failure of the SKAIS2 project, the aim of which was the development of a new information system for the Estonian social insurance authority, but was deemed a failure in August.

Latvia invites Iran to act constructively to ensure security

Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs participated in a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg, where he discussed about the role of Iran in the region and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in light of the upcoming report from US President Donald Trump to the Congress on Iran’s progress realizing the plan.

Vigil held in Malta over killing of investigative journalist

Several thousand people in Malta have taken part in a vigil held after news broke of the killing of an investigative journalist, who blamed Maltese government for corruption.

American exchange indexes reach record-high values; oil prices on the rise

In response to price rise of bank stocks, three leading indexes of US exchanges reached new record heights on Monday, 16 October. In addition, US Federal Reserve System manager Janet Yellen’s prediction regarding a soon inflation rise has increased confidence that base interest rate will increase in December.

54.14% more alcohol exported from Latvia; most of it to Russia

In the first eight months of 2017, a total of 102.259 million litres of alcoholic drinks was exported from Latvia, which is 54.14% more when compared with the same period of last year.

In pictures: Ireland hit by worst storm in 50 years

Three people have been killed in Ireland in the storm Ophelia, which cut off electricity networks to 120 000 homes and businesses in the country. Gusts of wind in Ireland on Monday, October 16, had reached the speed of 44 metres per second.

Tragic wildfires in Portugal and Spain

No less than 30 people have died in wildfires in Portugal and Spain.

Ašeradens to leave Latvian government at the end of November

Latvian Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens intends to leave the government after approval of the 2018 budget in the Saeima, which is scheduled for the end of November, as confirmed by Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis.

Islamic extremists blamed for tragic terrorist attack in Somalia

The death-toll in a tragic terror attack in the eastern African state of Somalia has reached 320 people and local authorities have stated that a key member of the cell that allegedly launched the attack on Mogadishu has told them that al-Shabaab was responsible for the crime.

Rīgas namu pārvaldnieks gets new management

From now on Rīgas namu pārvaldnieks will have a new chairman: once the head of Latio Namsaimnieks has been appointed as the new head of the company. The other vacant post has been given to Ardis Pāvilsons.

Newest comments