Contrary to information published by Latvian dailies – Neatkariga Rita avize and Ventas balss – Swiss law enforcement authorities have not brought any charges against me, says Rudolf Meroni, Supervisory Council Chairman at the AS Ventbunkers.
The two dailies, which are controlled by the accused Latvian politician Aivars Lembergs, reported that Meroni had been charged in the lawsuit against Dieter Behring. But such claims are completely false, Meroni says.
Neatkariga Rita avize refers to the Swiss daily Neue Zurcher Zeitung, which had in fact not said a word about facts Lembergs’ news sites were later reporting. The Swiss newspaper did not report on any charges made in Behring’s court case. Readers were merely informed that it has been eight years since investigation was launched. The daily said there were hopes some charges will be made when the probe rounds up. Meroni was mentioned as a witness and that is it.
Meroni has been appointed as the custodian of the assets seized within the framework of criminal proceedings against Lembergs.
Meroni explains the defamation campaign with Lembergs and his associates’ attempts to influence the Riga Regional Court, so that it replaces him as the custodian.
”No charges have been brought against me in Switzerland. In fact, no charges have been brought against anyone, not even Dieter Behring. Neither is it true that Behring and I went to school together. Behring’s assets and investments have never had anything to do with me. As an attorney, I was just trying to help save assets investors had placed in Behring’s fund,” he says.
”By claiming that I am being charged for financial crime in Switzerland, Lembergs’ dailies, Neatkariga Rita avize and Ventas balss, are spreading blatant lie. Each and every independent journalist can make sure it is lie by contacting the Swiss Federal Police.”
“The defamation campaign is clearly a bid to make the Riga Regional Court lift the powers entrusted to me. Lembergs does not want me to control assets that are secretly owned by him but seized in the interest of the state of Latvia. He does want, however, the court to turn against me as a witness,” he adds.
Another fact proves that. On Monday, August 27, Ansis Sarmulis’ lawyer – Janis Rozenbergs contacted the Riga Regional Court. He asked authorities to address the Swiss law enforcement authorities and revise whether Meroni can go on as the custodian of the seized Lembergs’ assets. It should be added that Sarmulis is an associate of Lembergs, who is also accused.
”I have been facing libel since I started attending Prosecutor General’s Office to give evidence on Lembergs’ offenses. So I was not surprised that Lembergs’ media rushed to serve his master. Neither was I surprised when Olafs Berkis and Olegs Stepanovs, once fierce opponents of Lembergs, joined the defamation campaign. Just like Rozenbergs, they want the court to lift my powers as a custodian.”
”But what I did not see coming is the fact that the Latvian Enterprise Register and a number of judges are gladly yielding to the interest of Lembergs, Berkis and Stepanovs. They are openly turning against me and the legitimate management of AS Ventbunkers,” Meroni says.
”However, I can assure that despite the slander, I will keep giving evidence in the Riga Regional Court. I will also use all legal means at my disposal to go on with my fight against the illegal take-over of AS Ventbunkers. The company was seized jointly by Lembergs, Berkis and Stepanovs.”