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Wednesday 18.10.2017 | Name days: Rolanda, Rolands, Ronalds, Erlends
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Jurašs: Lembergs to prison – there is too much evidence for a not guilty verdict

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«It is enough for me to know of a small fraction of the evidence against Aivars Lembergs to be confident that he will get a guilty verdict. I don’t really expect any other outcome,» said former investigator of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau Juris Jurašs in an interview to BNN.

He notes that it is clear that Lembergs is trying to prolong the court process for as long as possible, and he is succeeding. At the same time, Jurašs notes: «It is impossible not to notice just how nervous Lembergs is and how inadequate his behavour has become in communication with the public and in court. The court was forced to apply sanctions to Lembergs multiple times. He is making the process look like a farce – he keeps avoiding questions.»

As for the general situation surrounding Oligarch talks, Jurašs notes that the problem is that the people associated with talks, such as Ainārs Šlesers, Aivars Lembergs and Andris Šķēle did not discuss ways of making important decisions for Latvia’s sake, but rather dividing resources owned by the state among themselves. «Talks detail deep, personal material interests,» says the former KNAB investigator.

Jurašs calls this situation parasitism at the expense of the state and its residents. The aforementioned people only think of their personal interests and ignore public interests.

As for the situation with the parliamentary investigation committee, he says its activity shows Lembergs’ true influence over Latvia’s politics.

«What Lembergs has likely done is make some deputies dependent on him. The only question is – how? Is it because Lembergs found them jobs? Did he provide financial assistance? Or was it something else? These people are reasonable and capable of independent though, I would think. They have to know that the way the parliamentary investigation is being performed is completely unacceptable and amoral. The fact that those people are part of the committee proves Lembergs’ influence – they are not allowed to act differently. This means they do not behave objectively,» Jurašs describes the composition of the committee.

He ironically says that the situation looks to be as though Lembergs is the teacher giving each ‘student’ a task to complete. According to him, there are people part of the committee who are there to protect Lembergs. «It is one more proof of Lembergs rule – he can match committee members to suit his interests and make sure the outcome is favourable for him.»

Jurašs does admit that the initial idea for the formation of the aforementioned committee was welcome; it’s just that the execution was unacceptable. Inguna Sudraba’s appointment as the head of the committee was confusing enough, and Mārtiņš Šics’ changing decisions point towards the possibility of Lembergs’ influence extending more and more to the committee.

According to Jurašs, Sudraba should have declined the offer to take post in the committee, considering that she was mentioned in Oligarch talks. Her remainder in the committee creates a conflict of interests.

He also notes that the current committee is a joke. «The people working in the committee have long since turned away from the matters that were defined at the beginning – assess the risk of state capture and come up with ways to prevent such events from repeating in the future.»

He reminds that the main topic of those talks was state capture. If the composition of the committee does not change, then, Jurašs believes, it is naïve to expect any progress. Nevertheless, he admits that he hopes for Andrejs Judins’ alternative conclusion, because this deputy has approached this matter with professionalism and integrity.

«You see, because Lembergs has been in power for a long time, he has managed to put very loyal people in important government posts. This is one of the main pre-conditions for his manipulation of many important government processes.»

According to him, Lembergs’ interests have always been very narrow – using political influence and power to increase his personal wealth. One thing is certain – Oligarch talks reveal Lembergs’ true nature.

The fact that Lembergs remains active in Latvia’s politics, Jurašs views as proof of fooling and manipulating society. «He is not interested in actually helping the country and resolving topical problems we have. This includes poverty and social inequality.» The claim that Lembergs at least shares what he steals, is incorrect and unacceptable.

Jurašs views the publication of Oligarch talks an important step, because this way society can change its opinion about one or another person mentioned in relation to the case. «One thing is clear – these talks should not be an official secret – their content is important for the public.»


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