The loud scandal around the possible procurement of Sukhoi aircraft from Latvia’s national airBaltic airline is possibly a sly aimed manoeuvre to distract everyone from a bigger and nastier scheme. It is possible that this scheme is meant to create an opening for an inflow of state fresh funds into airBaltic and the subsequent acquisition of that money by potential investors, among which are Andris Skele and multiple figures close to the Russian Kremlin.
According to information provided to Pietiek.com by reliable sources, the management of airBaltic had never considered procuring aircraft from Sukhoi. All announcements leaks that point toward plans to procure Sukhoi aircraft had been carefully prepared and leaked intentionally to enthusiasts and ‘target media’.
This leak may have been carried out with a single purpose only – to distract everyone from the size of financial investments for airBaltic and the special German investor found for airBaltic by Prudentia. This has been done to prepare the stage for the ‘public backlash in regards to airBaltic’s plans to procure aircraft from Sukhoi’ and make it look like a ‘victory of state interests’. With everyone distracted from Sukhoi, no one would think twice about government plans to invest EUR 80 million in airBaltic and the attraction of the German investor under undisclosed conditions.
Information published by the portal suggests that this distraction plan has close ties to Andris Skele and/or his associates. Sources say Skele’s handwriting is found all over this deal, as it is based on a single principle – find whatever in the country is in dire need of an owner and acquire it using half-legal means and third parties. It is widely known that this particular oligarch has had indirect financial interests in relation to airBaltic for years.
Multiple sources point to Skele directly, saying that he has had a hand in the previous ‘saving’ of airBaltic four years ago. Sources mentioned Skele as one of the main financial consultants of all financial schemes and the main author of most ideas. The goal of the most recent scheme, according to sources, is to use the Sukhoi scandal as a smoke screen to cover the defrauding of the EUR 80 million loan provided by the Latvian government to airBaltic.
Sources also say Martin Gauss, CEO of airBaltic, is part of the ‘smoke screen’ scheme. Allegedly, his role was to create the impression that the airline has been preparing for the procurement of Sukhoi aircraft for a long time. Unofficial information states that it was also vital to make sure a brand new Bombardier plane, not Sukhoi, was presented in Riga as soon as possible, as well as make an announcement without objections that airBaltic would definitely not order Sukhoi aircraft.
According to sources, those behind the ‘smoke screen’ had gambled that in the current geopolitical situation Latvian politicians, media and society would believe the allegedly planned procurement of Sukhoi aircraft and spend considerable efforts to prevent it. Following this ‘victory’, no one would oppose the main goal of those behind this scheme – investment of state funds into airBaltic. Pietiek was provided with multiple potential amounts that could potentially surface as requests of airBaltic’s potential and currently unknown creditors – from EUR 30 million to EUR 100 million.
It is possible that the potential German investor’s voiced request is also part of the scheme; something Skele&Co had planned in advance for government lawyers to ponder while looking at other, ‘better’ offers of potential investors, Pietiek reports.