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Sunday 23.10.2016 | Name days: Daina, Dainida, Dainis

Opinion: constantly ill Lembergs

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«Very little attention is provided to the news that next year’s court hearings of the so-called Lembergs criminal case in Riga Regional Court will be held every day, not once every three weeks. Consequences of this turn of events could be very dramatic in both directions,» – writes journalist Aivars Ozolins in his article in Ir magazine.

«A brief look at Neatkarīgās Rīta Avīze’s story about judge Boris Geimanis’ decision on this matter make one think that politically pressured Aivars Lembergs has serious health problems and that he might be completely unable to live healthy social and private live next year, let alone earn enough money to survive,» – said Ozolins in an interview to TVNET.

«If this court hearing schedule is approved, all three accused persons will be unable to work and earn money to pay for legal defence,» – the newspaper states. Lawyers providing defence for those people will have to make do with what those clients pay them, because they will not be able to offer services to other people with such an intense schedule. Even the four judges will have to keep working on this case for a long time. Court hearings will not only be held every day but will also be at least two hours longer than before.

«Negative impact will fall on Latvia’s work and political market. NRA reminds that during Saeima elections the Union of Greens and Farmers, whose banner was held by A. Lembergs throughout the years, gained a lot of success. Without this party, it would be nearly impossible to form a new government.» Truly, who will provide strategic and tactical recommendations to the government and the Saeima if the banner of UGF spends hours on the bench for the accused in Riga Regional Court, Ozolins ironically writes.

He reminds that Lembergs stands accused of a number of serous and corruption-related crimes – bribery, abuse of power, document forgery, breach of restrictions imposed on officials, money laundering and inclusion of false information in official declaration.

For example, one of the sections of the accusation – involvement in possible conflict of interests – the prosecutor’s office explains with at least 235 different episodes in which Lembergs, as an official, took part in decision-making processes related to companies which he owned directly or through his son and daughter. The amounts of money he thereby illegally acquired are impressive. For example, some years ago information surfaced that following a request form Latvia’s Prosecutor General’s office, USD 85 million owned by Lembergs’ family was arrested in some bank in Luxembourg (Lembergs denies this).

At the end of 2006 and the beginning of 2007 a massive search in Ventspils City Council and Lembergs’ home yielded evidence to Lembergs’ possible influence in Ventspils companies and purchase of power. In 2007, the most severe security measure was applied to him – arrest. Lembergs spent four months in prison. The court process of this case commenced in February 2006. Lembergs’ son Anrijs and associate Ansis Sormulis joined him as accused in this case.

«The court process progressed slowly. Prosecutors mentioned many times that Lembergs and his lawyers do all they can to prolong the process. For some people, this case turned out lethal – 8 witnesses out of 98 turned up dead at the beginning of 2014. One of the first prosecutors to have investigated this case – Aldis Mezsargs – told the press how he had been offered ‘financial solutions’ in exchange for not investigating Ventspils officials,» – the journalist continued.

«Lembergs’ fashion style and provocative public behaviour sometimes makes the impression that he is not well, both mentally and physically. But his ability to combine the bench of the accused with active participation in government coalition talks reminds of his cold and cynical ability to use politicians and entire parties regardless of their ideologies. It’s possible there will be no time of day left next year, which will force certain people to work at night, like proper bandits and thieves,» – said Ozolins.


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