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Sunday 17.12.2017 | Name days: Teiksma, Hilda
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Lembergs’ turn to testify before parliamentary committee has come

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUAivars Lembergs, who is accused of serious crimes and is suspended from performing duties as chairman of Ventspils City Council, has been invited to come to a meeting of the Saeima’s Investigative Committee and answer questions associated with so-called oligarchs case.

The next meeting of the committee is scheduled for 27 November. This will make Lembergs the second oligarch to be interviewed by members of the committee after the publication of transcripts from so-called Ridzene talks by Ir magazine. Lembergs still denies the authenticity of those recordings. He also continues his efforts to discredit journalists who reported this information, calling journalists responsible for reports ‘sorosoids’.

One of the three oligarchs associated to Ridzene talks – Ainārs Šlesers – has already participated in a meeting of the committee. He said, among other things, that he did not publish conversations in which, for example, ex-president Valdis Zatlers ‘called and asked’ the politician to support Zatlers’ re-election as president of Latvia. By saying that, however, Šlesers indirectly confirmed that such a conversation did take place. Therefore he only increased the belief that Lembergs had taken part in talks, as noted by Ventspilnieks.lv.

Because Šlesers declined, the parliament was dissolved shortly after. This is how Šlesers described it. He emphasized that not a single episode of the criminal case launched by authorities in 2011 was proven in the end. The ex-politician avoided multiple questions associated with the oligarchs case, saying that he would be ready to talk all day if the conversation with Zatlers was published as well.

The committee also plans to interview the ex-president later in December. Zatlers categorically denies Šlesers’ claims.

Lembergs is invited as the next oligarch to testify before the committee. Members of the committee expect Lembergs, too, to avoid questions and talk about unrelated topics.

The parliamentary committee was formed after Ir magazine published transcripts of talks recorded in Ridzene Hotel attended by Šlesers, Lembergs and other influential politicians and businessmen. Lembergs claims recordings were fabricated against him.

Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau recorded conversations of said talks in the period between 2009 and 2011. Materials served as one of the main pieces of evidence in the so-called oligarchs case.  KNAB worked on this case for several years. In the end, however, it turned out that wire-tapped conversations were not enough to present charges. The criminal process was ended in the end with no results.

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