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Monday 25.06.2018 | Name days: Maiga, Milija

Is Latvijas avize newspaper going to be orchestrated by Aivars Lembergs? Part II

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Aivars Lembergs

In the first part of the publications dedicated to the new situation in the most printed newspaper in Latvia Latvijas avize journalists asked the question of just who are these people – Olaf Berkis, Dzintars Kass and Gatis Klimass – who have appointed themselves as members of the newspaper’s Council? And what could result from this spontaneous act? The characteristic for the first two individuals was given. Now it is time for the third one and the conclusions about all this.

Gatis Klimass. A rather young man. He is a living example that, Lembergs gained full grasp of the «Selection, training and placing of personnel» in the Higher Communist Party school. Sources claim that Klimass ended up in Lembergs’ line of sight when he was still a student at the Ventspils Higher School. Taking into account Lembergs’ exceptional relationships with the previous owners of Parex Banka Kargins and Krasovickis, that fact that shortly after graduation from the IHE in Ventspils Klimass started working at this bank, and pulled off a stunning career by swiftly becoming the manager of the Credit Department.

After completing a number of tests and specific tasks, in time Gatis became a loyal vassal to Lembergs, to whom he remains to be up to this day. The delicate nature of these tasks can be judged based on the fact that, for example, Klimass was the Chairmen of the Board of Ala Investments, which was founded by Ala 2002, created for financial market transactions. And the founder of which was…Aivars Lembergs. As reported in Latvian press, this company received around 8 million USD in credits, and approximately the same amount was noted in transactions between Lembergs’ accounts, and the accounts of his children Anrijs and Liga, as well as Ala 2002.

When Lembergs presumably gave away the company to his son and daughter in 2005, its capital shares were worth 11 million LVL. BNN has no right to affirm that it was Anrijs and Liga who received this gift from their father, but this probability gains in the fact that the both became members of Ala Investment Council, the Chairman of which was Gatis Klimass.

But even for Olaf Berkis, Klimass is not a random person. They are connected not only through business but also friendly relationships with some iconic individuals, some of which came from the nest of Olaf – N&J Company – into the big life in business. One of whom – is Martins Lauva, who became a millionaire, by taking part in Berkis’ real estate project. At the same time Lauva played a significant part in the Ventspils basketball club, in which the ball has no right to bounce without valuable instructions from Lembergs. Furthermore, it can be assumed that, Lauva became a compromise figure which appealed Lembergs when his political views coincided with the interests of the actual leader of the political unity Harmony Centre (HC) Janis Urbanovics. Lauva was a candidate to the 10th Saeima and was canditdate #2 from HC, but did not receive support of the electorate.

Meanwhile the real estate price bubble blew over, and Lauva was moved to the list of millionaires who have debts worth millions, and was appointed to a diet post of the Chairman of the Board of Celu parvalde owned by Riga City Council, which, as well known, could roll up million into asphalt. From autumn last year has the status of suspect in receiving a bribe worth 10 500 LVL as well as unauthorized use of the City’s property in the form of a deposit. Mayor of Riga Neil Ushakov of HC was forced to relieve Lauva from his duties.

We can consider is as a coincidence, but Lauva received impressive credits under quite democratic conditions at Parex Banka specifically while Klimass was in charge of the Credit Department. One other coincidence reflected in Latvian press: one of the social portals published a photo gallery under the title «Living richly cannot be forbidden» in which Lauva and Klimass were depicted having fun in Monaco.

This way, the three who lead the most popular Latvian newspaper Latvijas avize, are quite serious people. And one does not need to have a good imagination to understand why specifically Berkis, Kass and Klimass have taken over LA.

Firstly: because having the most number of subscribers, especially in rural areas, LA can be used as an efficient tool for forming public opinion. And it should be noted that country folk are not only more conservative than city folk, but are also more active during election of all levels. Furthermore: the thought that Latvia cannot survive without a leader is strongly rooted in their minds. And only one man can be a worthy candidate for this role – Lembergs.

Will LA become the next Neatkariga newspaper, the main objective of which is to sing dithyrambs for the Mayor of Ventspils, or the second Diena newspaper, or the second Telegraph, critical materials about the «savior of the nation» from which disappeared with a swing of the magic wand? Not likely. Berkis – is not the kind of man, who would make an omlet on his stove for someone else. It is probable that the role of Kass and Klimass in this story – is to provide a balance of interests of Berkis and Lembergs until these interests focus on taking care of Meroni’s team from the Ventspils transit enterprises. But there is no doubt that, the steering wheel on the LA command bridge will be sharply turned towards convincing the public that only the group of businessmen from Ventspils supported by a strong administrative resources from the Mayor of Ventspils, can ensure Heaven on earth. Even if the people do not think about the act that this Earth – is no more than territory, that holds the mansions of the members of the Anti-Meroni alliance.

And so it seems that the national treasure, which happens to be the terminals, located in Ventspils Free port, is not national any more, but is merely an object of endless disputes between burly men no matter of their citizenship. And the transfer of LA into the hands of Berkis-Lembergs – is no more than the acquisition of an instrument, which, according to their plan, will be used as a sledgehammer.

x x x

On the 19th of January BNN published materials about the meeting carried out by shareholders that own the controlling block of shares in Latvijas Nafta Tranzits and Ventbunkers companies, as a result of which Ventspils businessmen, who represented Lembergs’ interest were once again removed from leadership, and the power was returned to Rudolph Meroni. BNN does not have any official confirmation that the Registry of enterprises registered these changes. But if it happens, then the Council of Latvijas avize will change again. And let the situation in LA return to normal in benefit of preserving of what is left of the independent Latvian mass media, the roundabout of elections-reelections of the terminals’ Councils will continue until law-makers understand that it is high time to amend the norms governing the Law of the Registry of enterprises and the Law of Commerce, which turned this department into a machine for printing documents.


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