Latviski English По-русски
Wednesday 23.08.2017 | Name days: Valgudis, Ralfs, Vitālijs

Police search Millionaire Olegs Stepanovs home looking for evidence

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULast month, on April 10th, there were searches performed by authorities at a dozen locations linked to Ventspils transit businessman Oleg Stepanov.

According to information from Pietiek, these searches were carried out as part of a criminal process regarding the misappropriation of significant funds from Latvijas Naftas tranzīts. Stepanov is suspected of being involved in this.

David G. Anstis, member of the Management Board of LNT, has confirmed in an interview with BNN that LNT has, indeed, turned to Economic Police with a request to investigate possible illegal activities that may have taken place in the first half of 2013.

‘Millions of euros were transferred from LNT accounts by Mr. Kulikovs, perhaps following instructions given to him by Mr Oleg Stepanov. These sums were supposedly transferred for LNT’s own legal fees, however it turns out these funds were instead used for purposes unrelated to the company’s own activities,’ – said Anstis.

‘It looks like this money was used to pay personal legal fees in the UK for Mr. Stepanov or for companies in which he is a beneficial owner,’ – he continues.

When asked about Mr. Kulikov’s presence in the company’s Management Board, Anstis said Mr. Kulikov was appointed to the Management Board of LNT following a possible falsification of documents and subsequent submission of said documents to the Register of Enterprises. These documents have been turned over to the police to help in the investigation.

‘At this time I really can’t comment any more on this issue since there is an on-going criminal investigation,’ – said Anstis in his interview to BNN.

Suspicions regarding the possible attempts of misappropriation of funds in this Ventspils transit business company (37.98% controlled by Ventspils nafta) had surfaced one year ago, with the allocation of a loan for Stepanov’s owned Topmar Company.

This kind of scheme was used in 2012. It had successfully circumvented restrictions imposed against Aivars Lembergs which would otherwise have given the state right to claim at least some art of these funds in the event of an appropriate ruling from the court, as reported by Pietiek.

Stepanov’s need for this money is explained in Ventspils transit business sector by the millionaire’s need to maintain his expensive life-style and political ambitions. In order to realize such ambitions, big players in Ventspils transit business traditionally use company funds.

It was assumed at the time that Lembergs’ interests in regard to money owned by LNT and Ventbunkers had not gone anywhere and was being carried out with Stepanov’s help. On top of that, several sources in Ventspils transit business had reported that Lembergs’ son Anrijs had convinced people with ties to Olafs Berkis to help divide up funds owned by LNT – $29 million – which were deposited in Valartis Bank in Lichtenstein.

Last year, on the eve of the meeting of LNT Council, two majority shareholders of LNT – Ventbunkers and Ventrans Riga (control a total of 62.49% of LNT capital) had sent a warning to Council members of the company and Prosecutor General’s office, expressing concerns over possible illegal activities in the division of money owned by LNT, including dividends, loans and other forms.

‘Such allocation of funds for Oleg’s [Stepanov] Topmar Company can be viewed as a crime,’ – as Rudolf Meroni mentioned in his open letter to all involved sides.

The shadow of suspicion was cast not only upon possible illegal decisions made my LNT Supervisory Council, but also the legitimacy of authority granted to Stepanov’s son Aleksandr Kulikov. After the resignation of LNT Council member Sergei Odintsov February 18th, 2013, the entire LNT Council was basically considered illegitimate in accordance with Part 9 of Section 296 of the Commercial Law: If a council member leaves his or her office or is recalled from office before the expiration of the time period of the council, new council member elections shall take place in which the whole composition of the council shall be re-elected.

It was noted one year ago that the Prosecutor General’s office was reviewing applications that questioned the legality of authority granted to Kulikov. He was appointed based on minutes of the January 18th 2013 LNT shareholders meeting. The legality of this decision was questioned because not all shareholders had participated in this meeting and because this meeting was not called in accordance with legal requirements.

‘It should be noted that there are no minutes signed by LNT shareholders and one that would prove the legitimacy of the otherwise falsified list. This falsification was performed by Aleksei Ovod and his assistant Tatyana Poshkurlata. It is undoubtedly an act of falsification of an official document, which is a criminal offence. This case is currently being reviewed by authorities. With that, I ask you to act within the law and seriously consider the possibility of participants of this illegitimate and criminal attempt acted in order to claim funds owned by LNT as their own,’ – mentioned Meroni in his letter.

Last year, it was mentioned that such activities may serve as means to circumvent the ruling of Riga Regional Court regarding Lembergs’ arrested properties. If Lembergs were to be prosecuted based on accusations in corruptive activities and his involvement in a conflict of interests, the state would have rights on the arrested properties. This also applies to the share of free funds of LNT, which is controlled by Ventbunkers and Ventrans Riga (owners of 62.49% of shares).

Leave a reply

Sudraba claims KNAB investigated oligarch case to the maximum extent

Investigators of the so-called oligarch case, which continue working at the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau, performed their work responsibly. Information leak during the investigation, on the other hand, had impacted the investigation considerably, said head of the parliamentary investigation committee Inguna Sudraba as a visit to KNAB.

Survey: 43% of internet store users purchase something once a month

Overall, Latvian consumers are satisfied with the purchases they made on internet stores. 65.3% of respondents believe internet stores are safe and reliable. 44.7% of respondents say they have never had any problems when shopping on the internet, according to results of a survey performed by

Government establishes prohibition to wear face-concealing clothes in public

On Tuesday, 22 August, Latvian government supported Justice Ministry’s proposed legislative draft on restrictions for face-concealing clothes, which prohibits residents from wearing such clothes in public places.

Experts explain why a teenager’s «I don’t know» is so dangerous

Most often we say things like «I don’t know» because we are afraid of making choices. Reaching their teens, youngsters become more independent, and the inability to make responsible decisions and say «no» can have serious consequences, says psychologist Sabine Vilcina and youth motivation programme «MOT. Izvēlies drosmi!» manager Ilze Paidere-Stake.

Traders: following VAT decline, prices of goods will decline as well

Latvian Association of Food Traders supports Agriculture Ministry’s proposal to reduce VAT rate for food and separate food product groups. Traders confirm that this step will also reduce food product prices in stores.

The most major risks and solutions for real estate purchase and rent with option to buy

To acquire housing in one’s property, often residents use rent with an option to buy. Sworn attorney Zanda Zaluma of Eversheds Sutherland Bitāns shares advice resident should keep in mind when signing real estate contracts.

Finance Minister: businessmen will be forced to pay larger wages

The current market situation shows that Latvia should speed up its education reform and think about attracting additional human resources from other countries, said Latvian Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Latvia to procure Stinger anti-air missile launchers

A mutual contract has been signed between Latvian Defence Ministry and Danish Defence Ministry for the procurement of anti-air missile launchers used by the Danish armed forces, as confirmed by Latvian Defence Ministry.

Oil prices and stock exchange indexes decline in Europe

On Monday, 21 August, oil prices declined. Exchange indexes in USA increased slightly, whereas exchange indexes in Europe declined because of concerns over the policy implemented by the administration of US President Donald Trump.

Terrorists in Barcelona were planning three explosions

Terrorists, who performed two attacks in Catalonia last week, were initially planning to blow up three shuttle buses in crowded areas in Barcelona, as reported by El Espano.

Lawyer: Maxima wants to earn by reducing compensations for the tragedy

Maxima Latvija and Zolitude 21.11 have reached an agreement on payment of EUR 900,000 to support victims of Zolitude tragedy – EUR 5,000 to EUR 75,000 to each person, as reported by Maxima Latvija.

Producer prices in industry in Latvia grew 0.4% in July

Compared to June, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry rose by 0.4 % in July 2017. The prices of products sold on the domestic market increased by 0.5 %, whereas the prices of exported products grew by 0.3 %.

Enefit: Latvia reduces electricity price difference with neighbouring countries

In recent years, Latvia has managed to reduce the electricity price difference with other Baltic neighbouring countries, as reported by Enefit Chairman Janis Bethers.

Farmers Saeima: butter price will not remain high for long

The high price on butter in Latvia will not remain so high for long, said Farmers Saeima Vice-Chairperson Maira Dzelzkaleja-Burmistre in an interview to 900 seconds programme of LNT.

Aseradens elected as chairman of Unity; Krisjanis Karins to lead party’s city council faction

Unity elected Economy Minister Arvils Aseradens as the new chairman of the party. MEP Krisjanis Karins has been elected as the party’s leader in Riga City Council with Santa Zarane as his deputy.

LPS manager: forming the budget, it is important for municipal funding to stay the same

In the formation process of the next year’s state budget, it is necessary to guarantee finances do not reduce for municipalities, said the chairman of Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments Gints Kaminskis in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Police to organize inspections in stores; parents asked to watch their children as well

For the new school year, Riga Municipal Police will be performing regular inspections at stores, bars and cafes from 21 August to 31 August, as well as the first days of September, to make sure minors are not sold alcohol and tobacco products, BNN was told by police.

Colder masses of air to enter Latvia this week; more rain expected

This week’s weather in Latvia will be dictated by a cyclone hovering above Northern Europe. Colder masses of air will flow into the country. A lot of rain is expected in Latvia this week, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Kirsis asks police to assess possible forging of votes at Riga City Council

Riga City Council’s Unity faction chairman Vilnis Kirsis has asked State Police to check if the city council’s electronic voting system was used without another deputy’s knowledge or consent, said the politician.

Expert: attack in Spain shows how terrorists switched to more easily reachable targets

Terrorist attacks that transpired in Spain this week shows how terrorists have switched to more easily reachable targets, where security requirements are not as strict, says Latvian National Defence Academy’s Security and Strategic Research Centre researcher Martins Hirss.

New mandatory tests in schools to be introduced four years from now

In four years’ time – 2021/2022 school year – it is planned to introduce completely new mandatory tests in schools, as reported by State Education Content Centre Director Guntars Catlaks.

Nearly 9,000 children and their parents got homes thanks to state support programme

In the first half-year of 2017, state support helped 1,527 families in Latvia to buy homes. Compared with last year, families’ demand for state support has grown 6%, as reported by Altum finance institute.

Prediction: Aseradens will likely take control over Unity

Economy Minister Arvils Aseradens will become the head of Unity, Betsafe bookmakers predict. The possibility of Aseradens becoming the head of the party is given 45% probability by Betsafe.

Provisional estimate for next year’s fiscal space in Latvia is EUR 60 million

Next year’s fiscal space has been estimated at EUR 60 million, as noted by Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola, adding that a more precise estimate will be available at the end of August.

Reconstruction of Vilnius airport runway concludes; aircraft return to Vilnius

On Thursday, 17 August, Vilnius airport’s runway was festively opened. This was the most massive reconstruction for the airport in the past 20 years. It was a unique project for Lithuania and all of Europe, airport representatives say.