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Sunday 20.08.2017 | Name days: Bernhards, Boriss

Mikelsons: the whole thing is a high-level political frame-up

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Karlis Mikelsons

Former chief executive of electric utility A/S Latvenergo, Karlis Mikelsons, who was released from prison today on bail of LVL 50 000 security money, believes that the whole thing is a high-level political game.

In the interview for radio SWH, Mikelsons refrained from revealing neither the possible participants involved in this frame-up, or the political forces that regarded him as hindrance. He assumes that participants from the powerful eastern neighbour Russia, as well as, other participants from the Baltic and the Nordic energy markets could be involved in this case.

Moreover, Mikelsons does not preclude the possibility that he has been a hindrance for some alternative energy producers; recalling that, before the determination of Riga second coal-fired power station’s (TEC-2) construction, there were discussions on the fact that another solid fuel power station is planned to be built in the city of Liepaja.

Nonetheless, he stressed that this «fight of giants» in which he «happened to be involved» is solely about the place in the Baltic States and Scandinavia markets. Latvenergo is an insignificant player for this level of market, compared with participants from Russian and Scandinavian. But we are commensurable with Estonians and Lithuanians, said Mikelsons; also recognizing that, possibly, someone did not like that Latvia can not only produce and sell electricity, but is also able to fully provide it for itself; thus, excluding the possibility of setting electricity prices in Latvia from outside.

Mikelsons expects that the investigation and maintaining the action in the court will take several years. «The facts will be gathered, inspection will be carried out, and, afterwards, the appeal will be looked at, and, finally, it will be submitted in the prosecutor’s office. I have to take into account that this will take some time, » added the dismissed executive of A/S Latvenergo.

When asked about the future plans, Mikelsons remained that he has not been imposed restrictions of action, except that he cannot work at Latvenergo or companies affiliated with it. He conceded that he will most likely return to private business sector, because he has to work somewhere.

When speaking about questions concerning Latvenergo and its activities, Mikelsons used the pronoun ‘us’, not- Latvenergo. Later on he explained that he will have to grow used to the new situation, but, at the same time, stressed that, like any other inhabitant of Latvia, he is a state-share holder at the concern.

When asked about the decision making process in Latvenergo, he pointed out that it is a steadfast, complex and lengthy process. Most of the decision at the time when he was the head of the concern was adopted only with unanimous consent of all members of the executive board, but there were doubts, the project was revised.

It is the devoir of the board to make the final decision, as well as, to prepare competitions, and assess the applications. Then, if necessary, there are also additional ordinances – the necessary reconciliations with shareholders, ministries and the government are made.

Only then follows the decision of the board, which is based on the prepared materials. When the board of Latvenergo existed, all purchases exceeding the sum of LVL 250 000 were monitored by it. « Now, the board was replaced by stockholder Juris Puce (the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Economics), who was in charge of decision making for the said projects,» told Mikelsons.

Mikelsons’ lawyer Egons Rusanovs previously remarked that Mikelsons was charged with favourable decision making for the two enterprises – Alstom Network Swizerland AG and GAMA GŪC Sistemleri Muhendislik ve Taahhut, however, today the former head of Latvenergo indicated that, in both cases, more than 50 people were involved in the decision making. Yet, he hasn’t received reply on why only few were accused.

Mikelsons claims that it was impossible to make decisions single-handedly during his time at Latvenergo, nor it is right now.

Also, yesterday, in the interview for TV Company LNT, Mikelsons suggested that his and few other former Latvenergo board member’s arrest may be connected with company’s privatisation. At the time when the money will have to be returned to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the sum will have to be gathered somehow. They will at sometime ask to sell something. The IMF has already publicly suggested heading to the direction of privatisation, said Mikelsons.

He doubted whether the IMF has already been given promise to privatize Latvenergo, but there could be certain hints. In his opinion, the privatization itself and in holding company’s coming to private hands would not be the worst variant, but, whether the assets belong to us or someone who does not care about what’s happening in this country.

Mikelsons claimed that he and his representatives have still not been given a clear answer on what were the accusations, and, what he has done wrong. He also assumed that the events of last few months are linked to the political situation in the country, but he does not think that it was done in interests of certain politicians. However, as far as he is concerned, the fact that the day, he was detained, decisions to convoke the shareholders meeting and on his removal from office were already made.

He assumed that CPCB had been given political orders to arrest him, other members of Latvenergo board and several private persons.

Mikelsons, who was exempted from the detention, is determined to fight for his rights, and prove that, at best, it had been a mistake, but, at the worst, it was a deliberate action.

After acquainting himself with the requirements for chairman position at Latvenergo, Mikelsons concluded that there is a small number of candidates in Latvia who comply with these requirements. He refused to name specific persons. There are not too many companies with over 500 employees, and executives with the necessary education. Also, if we look at who wants to change jobs or who does not have job…, he added with suspicion, saying that the offered salary inadequately low for such post.

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