Ventspils millionaire Olafs Berkis has addressed Justice Minister Gaidis Berzins with a letter in which he casts doubt on the Riga Regional Court’s decision to entrust management of Ventbunkers shares to Rudolf Meroni.
“With the views expressed in his letter and press release, Berkis practically serves interests of the accused Ventspils city Mayor Aivars Lembergs, who as a hidden owner of Ventbunkers majority shares is not interested in these assets becoming a state property as a result of the court’s decision. Thus, it can be concluded that Berkis wants Justice Minister Gaidis Berzins to help Lembergs keep steeling and cheating the state in favor of their common interests”, says Rudolf Meroni, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Ventbunkers.
“Berkis’ letter only proves that this “new” oligarch has been an excellent student of the “old” oligarch Lembergs and has learned from him how to lie and misrepresent facts, and present them in a way which benefits for him.
I have never contested Berkis being a shareholder of Ventbunkers and have never taken away anything from other legitimate shareholders. Berkis’ interpretation, protecting interests of two offshore companies which are pretending to be Ventbunkers shareholders, is subordinated only to his selfish interests – to manage Ventbunkers business in a way that millions earned from the transit business would again flow away to offshore companies’ accounts.
All Berkis’ allegations about squandering of Ventbunkers and transferring of funds are outrageous lie. This has been proven by the fact that the State Police have not reacted on forged complaints by “henchmen” of Berkis and millionaire Olegs Stepanovs.
Distorted, false and baseless are statements in the letter that “within all legal proceedings in Latvian courts the position of Rudolf Meroni has been acknowledged unlawful and unconformable to truth.” Examples in the letter are a unilateral interpretation by a representative of Berkis’ interests”, continues Meroni.
“1. Absurd is the reference to “the Riga Regional Court decision rejecting the claim by „Yelverton Investment B.V.” managed by Rudolf Meroni, on recognition of property rights on those Ventbunkers shares the management powers of which have been terminated”.
This decision of the Riga Regional Court has been appealed in the Chamber of Civil Cases of the Supreme Court of Latvia, and court session has been scheduled only for April 26. This civil case is important, as it can deprive rights from the lawyer Kveps to present companies Steropes Limited and Gyges Limited as holders of 29.08% of Ventbunkers shares.
With allegations in the letter an press release that Meroni’s claim in this civil case has been rejected, Berkis is either deliberately misrepresenting the facts or he already knows what will be decision of the Chamber of Civil Cases of the Supreme Court. In such case there is a shadow over the independence of Latvian courts.
2. Also the statement that “with the valid decision of the Riga City Kurzeme District Court it was established that the takeover of the corporate power in Ventbunkers realized by Rudolf Meroni in January 2010, on the basis of which he managed Ventbunkers until December 2011, was unlawful and invalid” is misrepresentation of facts.
This was decision by the court of first instance which became effective only thanks to the fact that Management Board of Ventbunkers revoked the appeal on the first instance decision. Moreover, exactly this decision, made by the Kurzeme District Court judge I.Risberga and the way it was acknowledged final, after illegal manipulations by an unlawful management board of JSC Ventbunkers, was the one for which D.Skutans submitted a complaint both to Justice Minister Gaidis Berzins and Chief Jusice Ivars Bickovics.
3. Berkis is also unlawfully pretending himself to be head of Ventbunkers Supervisory Board, despite decision by the Ventspils city Court on December 13, 2011 (which became effective on January 3, 2011) that the takeover of Ventbunkers realized by Berkis&Co, holding an illegal shareholders meeting and electing Berkis head of Ventbunkers Supervisory Board on December 18, 2009, was acknowledged illegitimate. Similarly, statements, that with the protest submitted on this decision by the head of the Chamber of Civil Cases of the Supreme Court on March 23, 2012, the illegal shareholders meeting of Berkis&Co and its decisions had been legally acknowledged, are completely baseless.”
Meroni reminds that already on April 10 this year he addressed Justice Minister Gaidis Berzins with a public letter asking for an active conduct in combating raiderism. In his letter Meroni asked the Minister to be brave and start finally doing something to eliminate the raiderism in Latvia, assess the activities of the Chief State Notary Ringolds Balodis, and in his own activities comply with principles of the rule of law being declared by the government of Valdis Dombrovskis.
BNN already reported that by decision of the Riga Regional Court Meroni has been legally appointed holder of the arrested property, secretly owned by Lembergs’ family. Meroni legally represents 71.38% of Ventbunkers shares.