In 1994, Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs travelled to Moscow to sign a document that made him a co-owner of Solvolub offshore. The company’s largest co-owner was Russian businessman Boris Titov, who is currently one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s advisers. This is also how Lembergs first acquired shares in Ventamonjaks in Ventspils, as reported by Nekā personīga programme of TV3.
Ten years ago Titov was in United Russia’s highest decision-making body. Prior to the last elections, he formed Party of Growth. He did not enter the State Duma, but, according to the press, its goal was to dilute the already insignificant public support of the opposition. Titov was also awarded first degree medal ‘For Merit to the Fatherland’. The total value of assets entrusted to Titov is estimated at USD 1 billion, as reported by Nekā personīga.
Russian media write that Titov’s company Solvolub had built a chemical product terminal in Ventspils in the beginning of the ‘90s. Nekā personīga reports that up until now it has not been publicly known that Lembergs had worked there as well. The programme has found out that founders of the terminal had also provided shares to the head of the local municipality.
Lembergs told journalists he knows Titov. He did not mention anything about documents that secured shares in Solvolub.
Lembergs refused to provide any explanations regarding charges raised against him for not stating those capital shares in his declaration.
Prosecutor Aivis Zalužinskis told the programme: «When this matter was first viewed, investigators examined evidence that showed Aivars Lembergs was one of the registered shareholders in Solvolub Holding Achingtschaft in 1994 and 1995. We also had evidence that he owns two capital shares in this foreign company».
Investigators also found out that the signing of associated documents took place in Moscow, which resulted in Lembergs receiving 10% of that company’s shares.
Lembergs told Nekā personīga that he does not remember signing those documents, adding that he has not seen them in fifteen years.
The prosecutor said this company was closely associated with Ventamonjaks, as Solbolub Holding Achingtschaft was the mother company of Solvolub Trading Limited, which was in turn one of the shareholders in Vent TK Panalimited. The latter was mentioned in charges against Lembergs as one of the companies whose shares Aivars Lembergs had extorted from Ainars Gulbis.
In Russia, the law does not allow officials to be owners of foreign companies. This is why Titov got rid of his shares in Solvolub when he started working for the Russian president 2012.
Currently 55% of Ventamonjaks shares are owned by Cyprus-based Uranhem. Andrey Pakhomenkov, Director of Uralhim concern, sits on the council as deputy chairman. Minority shares are owned by a company in which Aivars Lembergs’ son-in-law Janis Austrins sits as council chairman. The prosecutor’s office has found proof that Lembergs’ son-in-law has property rights in this company, as reported by Nekā personīga.
The programme mentioned that Lembergs’ family has got their hands on a source of major income. In 2015, turnover of Ventamonjaks was equal to EUR 12.8 million. Its profits were EUR 3.3 million. Ventamonjaks transit turnover is EUR 11.8. Austrins, Liga Lemberga and Anrijs Lembergs control SIA Ventamonjaks through two other companies.
As reported by Nekā Personīga, Lembergs has always been in favour of developing relations with Russia. In his interviews to Russian media, Lembergs criticized Latvia’s membership in NATO. After the visit of US Vice-President Joe Biden, Lembergs criticized Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis, saying that it was not necessary to close down traffic, as Biden is not an important figure on his own. But he has never openly admitted sharing a business with influential Russian businessmen.