bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Sunday 25.06.2017 | Name days: Maiga, Milija
LatviaLatvia

UGF puts Maris Grudulis in Prime Minister Kucinskis’ office

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUKnown as the author of the scandalous mutatis mutandis amendments eight years ago, Maris Grudulis has become Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis’ freelance advisor for political parties’ cooperation matters, as reported by De Facto programme of LTV.

Saeima’s opposition had related the amendments that would have benefited money launderers with Airvars Lembergs’ interests. The Union of Greens and Farmers, on the other hand, denied criticisms. Grudulis, who is also a sworn attorney arbitrator and the Honorary Consul of Monaco Principality, has been proposed as a candidate for the Prime Minister’s office by UGF Saeima faction’s leader Augusts Brigmanis.

The Latin term mutatis mutandis was first became well-known in Latvia nine years ago. 9th Saeima UGF deputy Vilnis Edvins Bresis added it to one of his proposals before the approval of the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in the final reading. Opposite to what the responsible committee had decided, the majority of deputies of the 9th Saeima supported Bresis’ proposals.

Although the Latin phrase had people joking around, consequences of the approved amendments could have been very serious. Those amendments would have significantly limited the ability of law enforcement institutions to combat money laundering activities. The offered redaction of the law would have narrowed down the definition of finances that are to be considered illegally acquired and actions that are to be considered aimed at laundering said finances. Following protests from law enforcement authorities President Valdis Zatlers sent amendments back for a repeated review.

Then it became known that the true author of the compromising amendments was not Bresis. They were developed by the advisor of the Union of Greens and Farmers – Maris Grudulis, who remains proud of his work to this day. «You see, that event was loudly played out by the press. In reality, all those amendments were compiled properly and correctly,» – said Grudulis.

Maris Kucinskis should remember the mutatis mutandis experience in the 9th Saeima well. He was then the head of the People’s Party faction, which, along with Harmony Centre and Latvia’s First Party/Latvian Way voted in favour of Bresis-Grudulis’ proposals for the money laundering law. After that particular failure of the parliament, Kucinskis blamed everything on surface analysis and promised that the faction would take into consideration the opinion of the prosecutor’s office.

Now Kucinskis, as Prime Minister, regularly emphasizes the importance of Latvia’s membership in OECD. Among the work needed to be completed in order to achieve that are important regulations to improve supervision over banks and prevent risks related to money laundering activities in Latvia’s banking system. This has not prevented the Prime Minister from appointing Grudulis as his freelance advisor for matters related to the cooperation of political parties.

«I do not have the time to resolve any possible disputes among UGF, Green Party, Ventspils and Liepaja. This will be his duty. Although, I have to admit there have not been any problematic disputes,» – Kucinskis describes his subordinate’s duties, adding that they may include the party’s interior function.

Grudulis had already been a freelance advisor in the past. He was added to the team of then the non-party Electronic Affairs Minister Ina Gudele following recommendations from UGF. After that, Grudulis worked as a consultant to UGF’s Saeima faction.

Seven years ago, Grudulis participate in European Parliament elections from the list of the Union of Greens and Farmers. The next time the media mentioned Grudulis again was 2011. When Transport Ministry was first managed by UGF representative Uldis Augulis, Grudulis was attracted as a legal advisor for airBaltic airline. Personally, Grudulis provides no comments on this fact: «You see, there is one thing I will never comment on – relations with my clients. Unlike, perhaps other law firms, we will neither confirm nor deny that specific individuals are our client.»

The Prime Minister’s advisor denies any risks of a conflict of interests. He does, however, provide an answer to the question if there are currently any state companies among his clients: «If there are any unfinished cases left from previous years, then yes. Currently, however, I would say no.»

Grudulis does not deny having friendly relationships with multiple people from Transport Ministry’s political management. For example, the head of the Transport Minister’s office, Arturs Neimanis, is Gdudulis’ study buddy. According to his declaration, Grudulis had paid back a debt of EUR 10,000 last year. Artis Stucka, the Transport Minister’s advisor, is another one of Grudilis acquaintances from his study period. The two have recently worked together professionally. Several years ago, the two had represented Aivars Lembergs in the Administrative Court where the Ventspils official challenged the order given by then the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Edmunds Sprudzs to dismiss the infamous oligarch from his post in Ventspils City Council.

Now Grudulis goes to the Cabinet of Ministers twice a week to participate in meetings of the Prime Minister’s office. Not all of his colleagues, however, know exactly what Grudulis does there, seeing as though he mostly listens during discussions. The Prime Minister, on the other hand, has no suspicions about his freelance advisor.

«The moment I feel his presence could bring more harm than good, believe me, we will part ways,» – promises Kucinskis, adding that there have not been any reasons for that so far.

Kucinskis admits that he did not choose Grudulis as his advisor on his own – it was Augusts Brigmanis’ idea. The latter does not deny that. He adds that there can never be enough lawyers on the team. «I am more interested in having that person contribute to Kucinskis; work with his experience,» – explains the head of UGF’s faction.

When asked about Grudulis and the context of the Latin phrase mutatis mutandis now used by the media in relation to his name, Brigmanis says: «Is that bad? It is a proper legal term. […] We can look for contexts and historic nuisances in many places.»

Ref: 102.109.109.1422


Leave a reply

Real estate purchase «pain threshold» in Latvia – EUR 100,000

In relation to the possibility of purchasing a new home, Latvian residents view EUR 100,000 as the «pain threshold». The critical border for new project apartments is 1,300 EUR/m2. For standard apartments it is 1,000 EUR/m2. For private homes it is 1,600 EUR/m2, according to results of a study by PrivatBank.

Lembergs & Co. gathered to discuss «problems» of the high and mighty

Political businessman Ainars Slesers held a friendly discussion with his associates – Aivars Lembergs, Andris Ameriks, Janis Urbanovics, Janis Duklavs and Valerijs Kargins – at Ridzene Hotel. The group discussed toppling Valdis Dombrovskis’ government, replacement of multiple high-ranking officials and the possible sale of pieces of land within Riga Freeport’s territory, according to transcripts from the conversation published by Ir magazine and provided by anonymous sources.

Lithuania set to limit cash payments to 3,000 euros

The Farmers and Peasants-led Lithuanian Cabinet has approved a draft bill envisioning restrictions on use of cash, limiting the kind of settlements up to 3,000 euro.

Saeima establishes indexation increase for pensioners with high seniority

On Thursday, 22 June, Latvia’s Saeima approved Social and Employment Matters Committee’s prepared amendments to the Pension Law in two readings, ensuring greater pension indexation for multiple pensioner groups next year.

Romanian Parliament ousts Grindeanu government

The Romanian government of Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu has not survived a no-confidence vote and has fallen after less than six months in power.

Rail Baltica agreement will allow trains to travel at 240 km/h

Saeima of the Republic of Latvia will soon ratify Rail Baltica agreement, which is expected to allow passenger trains to travel at a speed of 240 km/h instead of 120 km/h. Higher travel speed will also ensure cargoes from Tallinn reach Poland within two days.

Mamikins: Latvia is becoming a landfill for rich European countries

A very large fire took place at an illegal landfill in Jurmala this week. According to information from the State Environmental Protection service, the fire had engulfed 23 tonnes of waste, mainly plastic waste, says Latvian MEP Andrejs Mamikins.

Latvian businessmen use e-commerce opportunities for business development

With e-commerce volumes growing around the world, Latvian businessmen use it more and more often for business development, including exports of goods and services. As noted by DPD, the number of packages sent to foreign countries grew 22% last year.

Latvia wishes to change its state president’s election process

Reviewing proposals to change the state president’s election process, Saeima’s Legal Affairs Committee decided to submit proposals developed by the work group to different Saeima factions for review, as BNN was informed by Saeima’s press-service.

Coalition parties close to making final decision with tax reform; no more obstacles

Coalition parties no longer have any more differences of opinions in regards to tax reform principles. Parties are close to making the final decision, said Economy Minister Arvils Aseradens after the meeting with Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola.

Saeima plans to introduce personalized voter cards

For next year’s Saeima elections, voters who only have an ID card and no valid passport are planned to be provided with personalized voter cards.

Producer price level in industry up 0.4% in Latvia

Compared to April, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry grew by 0.4 % in May 2017. The prices of products sold on the domestic market increased by 0.3 %, whereas the prices of exported products grew by 0.5 %. The prices of products exported to euro area countries grew by 0.8 % and of products exported to non-euro area countries – by 0.4 %.

Opinion: local media in Daugavpils are corrupt

«Now that we constantly face new and more elaborate security risks, concerns tend to increase about the fight for people’s minds in the information space. This is why the bar for professional journalists should be held high. Baltic Centre for Media Excellence plays an important role in all this,» said chairman of Saeima’s Foreign Affairs Committee Ojars Eriks Kalnins after the meeting.

Life in Riga remains more expensive than life in Vilnius and Tallinn

Riga is recognized as 126th most expensive city in the world. Life in the Latvian capital is considerably more expensive than it is in Vilnius or Tallinn, according to a study published by *Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

Most universities in Estonia to cut number of new students this year

Three of the four universities working in Estonia have expressed plans to bring down the number of admissions in the coming academic year.

Foreign investors do not support amendments proposed for Financial Instruments Market

The Foreign Investors Council in Latvia does not support proposals for protection of rights of minority shareholders, which are include and proposed in amendments to the Law on the Financial Instruments Market.

Ligo celebration causes condom sales to go up in Latvia

Nearly 39% Latvian residents plan to spend around 21 to 40 euros on Ligo, according to results of a survey performed by Maxima. 22% of respondents plan to spend around 20 euros on the celebration. 22% of residents plan to spend 41 to 60 euros, and 17% - more than 61 euros.

Latvian government asked to compensate profits lost from rejecting Nord Stream 2

Considering the stance of the Latvian Republic in relation to Nord Stream 2 project, in which the Cabinet of Ministers decided not to permit the participation of Ventspils Freeport, Noord Natie Ventspils Terminal and Baltic Express have decided to ask the government to compensate lost profits. An official request has been submitted to the prime ministers.

Hospital: countryside residents with no easy access to a urologist are at risk

For the third consecutive year urologists from Riga Eastern Clinical University Hospital’s travel to Latvia’s far-away regions to provide men there with free health check-ups and consultations. This year urologists decided to visit Dobele, Cesis, Rezekne and Jekabpils.

Stoltenberg visits Iron Wolf exercises in Lithuania

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has visited Lithuania on Tuesday, June 20, to see international military drill Iron Wolf 2017 and has noted that the involved countries are protecting each other.

German Chancellor could support introducing eurozone budget for sensible purposes

Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, has stated that she could support the introduction of a separate eurozone budget and a position of an eurozone finance minister, in case of right circumstances and sensible aims.

Prosecutor decides to end criminal case against former KNAB officer Juris Jurass

In spite of the decision by Security Police to present charges, the prosecutor responsible for the case has decided to end the criminal process commenced against the now former official of Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau Juris Jurass for intentional disclosure of official secrets.

Latvia wants to introduce electronic working time tracking in construction

Saeima’s Budget and Finance Commission has expressed unanimous conceptual support for amendments to the Law on Taxes and Duties. These amendments provide for the introduction of electronic working time tracking system in construction, as BNN was informed by Saeima’s press-service.

Alleged bomber shot in Brussels central station

In the central station of Brussels, Belgium, soldiers have shot a man suspected he was to detonate explosives, local authorities have stated. The man was shot and later died after reportedly setting off a small explosion on Tuesday, June 20, and no-one else is believed to have been injured.

Expert: pension capital grows, but the Latvia still has a ways to go

«Latvia’s pension system has been named one of the best in the world multiple times. Pension capital in it has grown rapidly over the years. The volume of savings gathered on the 2nd level pension system by the end of Q1 2017 came close to EUR 3 billion. The volume saved on the 3rd level pension system was close to EUR 4 billion,» explains Nordea Pensions Latvia board member Ilja Arefjevs.

Newest comments