Latviski English По-русски
Wednesday 17.01.2018 | Name days: Tenis, Dravis

Šlesers’ actual role in the signing of contract with Ryanair is revealed

(+1 rating, 1 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUDetails regarding the signing of the unfavourable contract between Ryanair and Riga International airport have surfaced in the London Court of International Arbitration.

On top of that, information regarding Ainārs Šlesers’ actual role in the signing of the questionable contract between Ryanair and Riga International airport, and that of other officials, has also surfaced in the London court, as reported by Pietiek.

Šlesers was the one who extended the proposal to Ryanair to include a single agreed fee in the contract. This is demonstrated e-mail correspondence between Šlesers and Ryanair over the course of summer 2003 – spring 2004.

The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau had previously unsuccessfully investigated Šlesers’ role in the contract’s signing process. Šlesers always claimed that even though the contract guaranteed lower service costs for Ryanair flights, it would only benefit Latvia’s economy by increasing the number of serviced passengers and developing Latvia’s tourism sector.

Based on testimony from current and former officials and previously unpublished e-mail correspondence of Šlesers’ political office, Ryanair and Riga International airport, Latvian lawyers informed the London court that the airport’s Board had opposed the signing of the contract with Ryanair, because they knew it would lead to considerable losses.

The court of arbitration had basically agreed that it was Šlesers, not the airport’s Board, who was the main driving force of the signing of the contract. This did not, however, affect the court’s ruling. It was decided that the contract is in force and is to be interpreted in favour of Ryanair.

The airport’s position in the court of arbitration was that ‘Šlesers personally headed talks about conditions of the contract and made the airport sign it’. Because Transport Ministry is a holder of shares in Riga airport, it has legal and practical means of exacting influence on the airport in order for the latter to accept conditions agreed upon by Ryanair and Šlesers. The airport’s Board had no other choice but to follow Transport Ministry’s order to sign the contract in 2004.

Andis Damlics, who was and remains a member of the airport’s Board, testified in the London court that Šlesers was directly involved in talks with Ryanair. He added that the airport’s Board had opposed multiple conditions of the contract.

In spring or early summer of 2004, Transport Minister Šlesers’ office had sent the airport a project of the contract, giving a political order for the airport to sign it. A meeting was held shortly after receiving the contract. During this meeting, Šlesers, the management of the airport and Ryanair administrative director David O’Brian reached an agreement regarding several amendments to the contract’s conditions. However, some time later the airport received a new version of the contract. As it turned out, it did not include a single one of the previously agreed upon amendments and was no different from the initial version of the contract.

On June 27th, 2003, then the Commercial Director of Ryanair Conan henry wrote to Šlesers, expressing his satisfaction with their meeting in Dublin. He also expressed his interest in performing Ryanair flights to Riga. However, before the project could progress, he requested a written approval of Ryanair’s commercial conditions (thуy were added to the letter he sent to Šlesers). This was followed up by a meeting with Šlesers on November 7th, 2003, dгring which the two sides discussed flight routes, dates and costs.

Following talks that lasted for months, one final meeting between Ryanair management and Šlesers was held in Riga on April 23rd, 2004. After this meeting, David O’Brian wrote to Šlesers that Ryanair agreed to ‘his offer regarding a single „all inclusive” fee of EUR 4.5 per passenger’.

On May 14thm 2004, Šlesers sent a proposal to Ryanair regarding a project with airport costs. In letter sent a bit later, Šlesers extended an offer to Ryanair to make Riga its base if the airline can guarantee 500,000 passengers a year.

The court process also reviewed a correspondence between Damlics and Ryanair manager David Usher, which took place in between July 9th- 15th, 2004. In this correspondence, the airport’s representative expressed concern over the fact that air navigation services in the terminal zone were also included in the contract. This angered Ryanair, and on April 22nd Usher wrote to the airport’s Board, adding Šlesers as one of the recipients as well, noting that ‘the last document sent by Ryanair does not fully comply with the agreement that was reached in Šlesers’ office on July 7th’.

The inclusion of air navigation service costs in the single price was the main reason for the court process. According to the documents that surfaced during the court process, the inclusion of these costs was done with Šlesers’ direct involvement. The airport opposed doing this.

The London arbitration court concluded that Šlesers’ involvement in talks regarding contract conditions and the airport Board’s opposition of them shows that Transport Ministry was ‘more than a supervisor’. There is plenty of evidence to suggest Šlesers played a very active role in talks, as concluded by the court.

Ryanair management tried to justify the airport’s position, because representatives of the airport had signed the contract against their free will. Ryanair representatives had tried to reduce the impact of Šlesers’ influence over the contract – the minister’s active involvement only reflects the general desire of politicians to associate with this important business sector in order to gain political points. The airport’s position in the court was that Šlesers was the one who ordered the airport around and that his role was more than just coordinating the process.

Šlesers’ office had also coordinated amendments to the contract in autumn 2007. The court of arbitration also reviewed an e-mail that was sent by Šlesers’ advisor Natālija Džeina Maršāne to Ryanair executive director’s deputy Michael Cowley, offering changes to the structure of payments, which later led to amendment to the contract.

Therefore, on December 10th, 2007, there was a new contract that discriminated other airlines and offered additional benefits for Ryanair. This new contract stated that the airport is to cover the difference if Ryanair’s costs per passenger exceed the already low amount of EUR 4.5. November and December of 2007 were politically unstable. Under Aigars Kalvitis’ government, Šlesers was once again Transport Minister. Although this government was nearing its end and Šlesers had managed to remain in his post in Godmanis’ government, there were risks during preparations of amendments to Ryanair contract that political succession in Transport Ministry would not be followed.


Leave a reply

Mass protests in Greece do not hold back new bailout reforms

The parliament of Greece has adopted a large set of reforms pushed for by international creditors in return for more bailout money, despite approximately 20 000 people protesting outside the parliament and brief clashes with riot police breaking out.

Foster families in Latvia to receive larger benefits

Municipal administrations have a duty to pay larger benefits for child care when children are put in foster families, Latvian Welfare Ministry reports.

Government plans to improve anti-doping measures in Latvia

During a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, a legislative draft developed by Healthcare Ministry on adding changes to the Sports Law for the improvement the country’s anti-doping measures was approved.

Only 12% of workers know their organization’s IT security policy

Businesses around the world still suffer from a catastrophically low level of awareness for IT matters, according to a study performed by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International.

Parents let children on ice in spite of temporary restriction

On Sunday, 14 January, officers of Riga Municipal Police observed with video-recording equipment how two people were skating on the surface of Victory Park’s pond. Because it is banned for people to remain on ice of large bodies of water in Riga, officers were sent in.

Czech President to be determined in duel between Zeman and Drahoš

In the Czech presidential election, no candidate has garnered a half of the votes and its result will be determined in a run-off between the current eursceptic President and a pro-European academic.

Aldaris: non-alcoholic beer market in Latvia grew 9% in 2017

Aldaris concluded 2017 with a significant increase in their non-alcoholic beer category of products. Demand for non-alcoholic beer has increased across all of Latvia – market growth was 9% in 2017, as reported by the company’s representatives.

Politician reports meddling with e-health system; prime minister parries

Last Thursday, 11 January, e-health system ‘suffered malfunctions’, which suggests that it may have been hacked, Saeima’s Social and Employment Matters Committee head Aija Barča mentioned in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Pension fund cautious about 500-million-euro bridge project to Saaremaa

Commenting on the idea that Estonian pension funds could invest into the ambitious project of building a bridge from mainland Estonia to the country’s largest island, Swedish Swedbank has expressed caution.

Study: more than half of Latvians do not trust other people

52% of Latvian residents believe most people cannot be trusted. Only 5% of residents are ready to trust their fellow man. Less than one-fifth of Latvian residents trust decision-makers, according to results of a study performed by SKDS.

Economic expert: 2018 expected to be good for investors

«This year promises to be good for investors, because global economy is on a rise and profits of businesses have a tendency to grow,» says Luminor economic expert Gints Belēvičs.

Estonia counts more residents for 3rd consecutive year

Registering an increase in the Estonian population for the third consecutive year, Estonian statisticians have estimated that the population has increased by 3,070 people to 1,318,700 residents. They have also warned that this is preliminary data, which could still change considerably as unregistered immigration has not been included.

Russian school struck by teenager knife attack

In a knife attack on a school in Perm, Russia, eleven children and a teacher have suffered injuries.

NA: city council has to consider new partnership approach for Agenskalns market

Riga City Council members have to decide what is more important for Agenskalns market’s development: rate or quality. There are two options: force a closed market development with an auction of long-term lease or consider public private partnership option. Such a proposal was submitted to Riga City Council’s City Property Committee by the faction of the National Alliance.

Romania Prime Minister changed, second since June

Romanian head of government Mihai Tudose has lost the support of his own Social Democratic Party becoming the second Romanian Prime Minister to lose the seat in seven months.

Moderately rapid export rise recorded in Latvia in January-November period

Compared with the previous year’s period, a moderately rapid export growth was recorded in Latvia in the January-November period of 2017 when compared with other EU member states, according to data published by Eurostat.

Japanese R&I upgrades Latvia’s credit rating to A-

Japanese Rating and Investment Information, Inc. (R&I) has announced its decision to upgrade Latvia’s rating from BBB+ to A- with a stable outlook, as reported by Latvian State Treasury.

KVV Liepājas metalurgs to be auctioned off

Insolvency administrator to the bankrupt KVV Liepājas metalurgs Guntars Koris has decided to sell property owned by the company at an auction, as confirmed by the administrator’s representative Dzintars Hmieļevskis.

Port turnover of Latvia’s neighbours up 9%; Latvia suffers 2% decline

«Total turnover of Russian ports has grown to 787 million tonnes, according to data from Russian Federal Agency for Marine and River Transport. Compared with 2016, stevedores of Latvia’s neighbouring countries serviced 7.2% more liquid cargoes, with their volume reaching 414 million tonnes. The total volume of bulk cargoes, on the other hand, has increased by 11.1%, and now reaches 373 million tonnes,» as reported by Dienas Bizness journalist Egons Mudulis.

Greek transport strike seeks to safeguard right to call strikes

A scope of Greek public transport services drew to a halt on the opening day of the week as public transport workers and air traffic controllers engaged in a strike to protest against what they see as attempts to limit they right to hold strikes.

Olaine prison to have a new training centre for correctional service personnel

On 15th and 16th January, Justice Ministry will organize a meeting for the Norwegian finance instrument’s 2014-2021 planning period. During this period, officials will discuss the progress of the Improved correctional services system. As part of this programme, it is planned to build a new training centre in Olaine prison for correctional service personnel, as reported by the ministry.

Estonia's new road tax payment criticised by road hauliers

As the new road tax has entered into force in Estonia in 2018, the country's Association of Estonian International Road Carriers has commented after the first two weeks of its implementation that a key problem is that the state has not granted truck drivers the possibility to pay the road tax at gas stations in addition to the existing way paying the tax online.

Marriott International hotel network enters Latvia’s market

Albert Hotel will be closed down for renovations on Monday, 15 January. It will be reopened in 2019 as AC Hotel Riga part of Marriorr Group. The new Marriott hotel in Latvia will be managed by Legendhotels, as BNN was told by the company.

NP: Reizniece-Ozola and Kučinskis are proud of tax reform, businessmen are not

Latvia’s tax system underwent serious reforms before the country entered 2018. Until now officials only mentioned the benefits – businessmen will no longer have to pay tax for profits if they reinvest money in business development, the majority of small wage recipients will become several dozen euros richer. However, businessmen are generally dissatisfied with the reform, Nekā personīga reports.

Ilves suggests creation of world cyber-security alliance beyond NATO

Former Estonian President, cyber-security activist Toomas Hendrik Ilves has noted that world's democratic countries, starting from NATO, should form a common cyber security organisation.

Would you be ready to boycott something in your life?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Polls Archive

Category feed: Feed: