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Friday 18.08.2017 | Name days: Liene, Helēna, Elena, Ellena, Liena
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Swiss lawyer Meroni to testify in Lembergs criminal case

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUToday, April 15th, Riga Regional Court will listen to the testimony of Swiss lawyer Rudolf Meroni, who is a witness in the criminal case against Aivars Lembergs.

Meroni’s testimony will be presented to the court in a closed hearing.

BNN had reported numerous times that Aivars Lembergs is accused of bribery is especially large amounts, money laundering and legalization of other illegally obtained properties, fraud, illegal participation in monetary deals (something is not allowed to do considering his post as an official), as well as misuse of official power and other serious crimes.

Anrijs Lembergs – son of Aivars Lembergs – and the head of Ventspils Transit Business Ansis Sormulis are accused of serious crimes along with Lembergs. All three of them have said they do not admit committing any of the crimes they are accused of.

The whole criminal case is compiled in 200 volumes and two criminal processes, which were submitted to the court by the prosecutor’s office in the second half of 2008.

Riga Regional Court began an in-depth review of this case on August 20th, 2009. Due to the complexity of this case, it is now being reviewed by Judge Boriss Geimans, Irina Jansone and Ligita Kuzmane. Arija Zhdanova is chosen as a reserve judge for this case.

Previously the case was being reviewed by Judge Geimans along with Court assessors. However, the institute of court assessors was liquidated on July 1st, 2009 without allowing the court to finish its ruling on this case.

Based on the fact that Lembergs had breached the restriction imposed against him – the ban to perform duties of Mayor of Ventspils, the ban to manage Ventspils Freeport as its Chairman and ban to take part in votes in Ventspils City Council in regard to 350 decisions – then the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Edmunds Sprūdžs had signed the order to dismiss Lembergs from his posts.

In a live programme of LNT, Sprūdžs told Lembergs in person: ‘You should be punished. Thieves should be behind bars.’

The minister had also considered the order to dismiss the current composition of Ventspils City Council. He sought political backing of his decision, which was rather complicated, considering Unity’s reserved attitude towards this.

Both the former U.S. ambassador to Latvia Judith Garber and former Economy Minister of Latvia Daniels Pavļuts declined to meet with Lembergs after this.

On top of that, Aivars Lembergs is known for his pro-Kremlin attitude – he stated it multiple times that Latvia’s government should keep quiet and not involve itself in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

Threatening with economic collapse and military threats, the wealthy Ventspils resident clearly expresses support for Russia’s actions. Apparently he sees nothing wrong with it and continues to defend Russia’s interests.

He said in one of his most recent interviews: ‘I know only Russian language. I often tell my son: if you want to do business, you don’t have to know any foreign languages, but you absolutely must know Russian language.’ During the recent event in Ukraine, Lembergs had said it a number of times that Latvia should keep quiet and not try to ‘teach Russia how to live’.

One of his latest comments implied the introduction of NATO forces in Latvia would mean a military occupation, similar to the one Latvia suffered in 1940.

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