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Wednesday 24.01.2018 | Name days: Krišs, Eglons, Ksenija

Attention is drawn to alleged corrupt practices of judge Cernavska

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Dr. Rudolf Meroni

Ventbunkers Supervisory Council Chairman Rudolf Meroni has sent an application to the Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (CPCB), pointing to “alleged corrupt practices” of Anita Cernavska, judge in the Supreme Court Chamber of Civil Cases.

The application has been received and the CPCB has started assessing it.

Meroni draws the Bureau’s attention to the Supreme Court judge’s alleged link to the interests of the offshore companies Steropes and Gyges. Allegedly, a secret agreement was concluded between her and representatives of Steropes and Gyges, pointing to “the judge’s corrupt interests”. Riga Regional Court has appointed Meroni as the legitimate representative of Latvia’s potential interest in the seized Ventbunkers assets, secretly owned by Lembergs family.

Meroni points to Cernavska’s extraordinary activities concerning legal proceedings initiated after Yelverton Investment’s complaint related to tens of millions worth dispute over Ventbunkers shares. Initially, the judge forwarded the case to the Senate but later requested it back in order to decide on its removal and “record” the process (together with two other judges).

The application states that Yelverton Investment only accidentally found out that the case was about to be heard. Besides, upon arrival to the Supreme Court building, the security would not let the company’s representatives in, stressing that the case had been removed and no court hearing would take place. Only after Yelverton Investment representatives’ repeated request the Supreme Court security officer contacted the court’s spokesperson, who confirmed that the case will be heard.

While waiting for the court hearing, Yelverton Investment representatives heard employees of the court laugh about the fact that someone was actually expecting the case to be heard. Yelverton Investment representatives had an impression that there was great fuss about the case in the Chamber of Civil Cases itself, according to the application addressed to the anti-corruption bureau.

Besides, arrival of the company’s representatives seemed to alarm Uldis Jornins, sponsor of the party For Latvia and Ventspils. He was texting all through the court hearing, obviously, informing someone about how the events were unfolding.

Cernavska’s actions and the way the court hearing was organized suggest that Yelverton Investment representatives were not expected to attend. In addition, Cernavska is said to have appeared nervous, confused and blushing. Facts imply that a secret agreement was concluded between Cernavska and the defendants – the offshore companies Steropes Limited and Gyges Limited and their authorized representative Martins Kveps. They are said to have agreed not to announce the court hearing schedulled for January 17, 2012, Meroni stresses in his application.

In fact, this is not the first time alleged corruption overshadows impartiality of the judge. Materials published in the influential lawyer Andris Grutups’ book titled Tiesasanas ka Kekis (Legal Proceedings as a Kitchen) shed light on his informal discussions with a number of judges from Riga District Court and the Supreme Court. Grutups and his law firm’s transcripts of telephone conversations were published as well, reports the portal Pietiek.

At the time the phone calls were tapped, the Supreme Court judge Cernavska worked in Riga District Court. She allegedly repeatedly met with Grutups to discuss certain court cases. Back then she neither confirmed, nor dismissed existence of such phone conversations, claiming that she could not recall anything like that.

Ventspils war started off back in 2005. Initially, Meroni’s team included the so-called Aivars Lembergs’ opponents. But later, in early 2010, Lembergs’ opponents declared their own war against Meroni. Having found themselves short of cash, Lembergs opponents unlawfully took over Ventbunkers last December. Since the opponents’ leader Olafs Berkis got hold of power, the media suspects that a settlement has been reached between them and Lembergs. As a result, Berkis, Stepanovs and Lembergs are fighting against Meroni hand in hand.

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