bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Monday 23.07.2018 | Name days: Magda, Magone, Mērija
LatviaLatvia

1:1: Lembergs admits not remembering what he says; Jurass says Strelchenok worked for people involved in oligarchs case

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«What Lembergs is doing now is simply trolling and fooling. He still things there are people in Latvia who still believe him,» said former head of Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau’s Operative Investigations department Juris Jurass in a heated discussion with Aivars Lembergs hosted by LTV programme 1:1. Jurass especially emphasized that it is important to react and assess in which part of oligarchs case statute of limitation has yet to come into force and where it is possible to restart investigation.

The oligarch talks recorded in a room of Ridzene Hotel are already called classic in their respectable genre – a method for evaluating the quality of work performed by law enforcement institutions and a method for telling how Latvia’s elite uses state power for their own personal gain. What should officials responsible for the criminal case’s progression in court take into account? LTV programme 1:1 decided to find out.

This time the duel organized by 1:1 involved the now former head of Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau’s Operative Investigations department Juris Jurass and infamous Ventspils resident Aivars Lembergs.

The programme’s host Gundars Reders commenced the duel with a question: can the oligarch talks be considered authentic? Jurass, now a Riga City Council deputy, immediately said he does not want to view a discussion with Lembergs as a duel, saying that «my duel with comrade Lembergs ended ten years ago, the moment I organized his arrest and evidence collection. So you see – his duel is now with the court.»

«I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of those talks, considering that a number of individuals who had participated in those talks have neither denied nor confirmed it,» said Jurass, going back to the question asked by the host. When asked if it was Jurass who leaked evidence, he said a strict no, adding that such claims are voiced almost all the time. In addition, Jurass said that the person who did leak this evidence should be congratulated for allowing all of Latvia’s population to listen and read through the interesting material.

When Lembergs was given his turn to speak, he immediately accused of lies and inconsistencies in his responses made in different interviews. When asked if he had, in fact, taken part in the scandalous talks in Ridzene Hotel, Lembergs evaded the question by sarcastically saying that he has been taking part in different conversations since the age of 2. «And I don’t keep in mind the places and the things I say. There is no way for me to check if someone records conversations and whether or not the recorded footage is authentic. Respectively, if I am the one participating, am I really the one there?» Lembergs shared his thoughts.

He did confirm meeting with Ainars Slesers and the Transport Minister. He then proceeded to dance in a circle around the issue, saying that he was never mentioned by name by any of participants of the talks, rather just «AL», which, according to Aivars Lembergs, does not incriminate him the slightest. In addition, he said KNAB had never interviewed him about any talks.

Turning attention to the quality of the investigation, Reders reminded the audience about the speech Juta Strīķe made in 2011. In it, she mentioned that 11 individuals, 6 officials, 26 commercial associations were involved in the investigation of oligarchs case. In addition, there were 5 requests for assistance from foreign institutions and 42 searches performed, which should have given at least some results. In the end, however, nothing happened. And so the question was asked as to why the investigation concluded with no results.

Jurass said that the evidence that was collected during the investigation were sufficient to launch criminal prosecution and send the case to court.

«Even at the very beginning of the criminal process we faced a number of obstacles. For example, the Saeima decided not to permit a search in Ainars Slesers’ home and many other locations. And I can once again say that there was no sufficient cooperation with the prosecutor’s office.»

‘I also have to admit that KNAB’s previous leaders did all they could to impede this criminal process. I can mention Juta Strīķe’s case – she was dismissed five times! I believe it was because she was in charge of this specific criminal process,’ Jurass said.

The former investigator also said he has no doubts that Yaroslavs Strelschenoks worked in the interest of the people held suspect of criminal acts. When asked if Lembergs is among those people, Jurass said he cannot exclude such a possibility.

In response to such a claim, Lembergs said: «Of course I am the one responsible for everything. I’m not about to look for excuses». At the same time, Lembergs, who is on record of saying he has difficulty remembering the places he has been and the things he has said, demonstrated a surprisingly sharp memory for different details and dates associated with other people. «As for the so-called oligarchs case, this person right here – Juris Jurass – was the one who sent recorded footage to Strīķe as potential evidence on 17 May, 2011.»

«Jurass was the one who selected everything, no one else did. This also means he did not send all important materials to her. So the question is whether or not Mr. Jurass acted selectively and irresponsibly when performing his duties, for which he was paid a monthly wage of EUR 3,000. The answer is there are signs of corruption,» Lembergs said.

Jurass denied Lembergs’ accusations. «Mr. Lembergs clearly has no understanding of the concept and processes involved with a criminal process and what materials should be added to accompanying materials. Once all associated materials acquired during the investigation have been properly assessed, the most important documents were, indeed, selected to make up the criminal process and other materials that would later serve as evidence.»

During the programme, participants discussed a number of other matters, including illegal activities at Riga Commercial Port. Lembergs did not answer questions associated with this matter, but he did ask counter-questions, leading the conversation away from the core matter and later calling all that «foolish babble».

As usual, instead of answering questions, Lembergs proceeded to accuse journalists and the programme’s host Reders of unprofessionalism, saying that the journalist made a mistake phrasing the question.

Lembergs said he has never owned anything indirectly, «neither in secret, not openly».

Jurass mentioned he has no doubts that Lembergs does have business interests at Riga Commercial Port.

«Skele and Slesers have legalized their ownership rights in Riga Commercial Port. Determining was one of the main objectives of the criminal process. I would like to add that the criminal process was being handled without Strīķe and myself for a period of several years. I remain confident that we could have and should have proved that. The question is why KNAB and the prosecutor’s office decided to end it in the final stages. […] How could they end a process when both officials’ participation in the company was already legalized? How? I don’t understand!»

I have a question for the prosecutor general and supervisory prosecutor – how is such a thing even possible? Jurass says it is necessary to react and evaluate in which parts of the criminal process statute of limitations has yet to come into force and where it is still possible to continue the investigation.

Conversations between politicians and businessmen recorded in Ridzene hotel served as one of the main pieces of evidence in the so-called Oligarch case launched in 2011.

Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau spend years investigating this case. Unfortunately, it turned out that the tapped conversations are not enough to raise charges, so the criminal process was ended.

The criminal case became topical again after Ir magazine published a transcript of conversations possibly recorded as part of oligarch case.

Ref: 225.109.109.5200


Leave a reply

Week in Lithuania. Liberals ex-leader fails to recover confiscated cash

Eligijus Masiulis, a former Liberal Movement leader on trial in a major political corruption case, has failed to recover cash that was found and seized during searches of his home.

BNN summary of the week: open presidential election in Latvia and no more plastic bags for shoppers

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Future; Change; Fight; Decline; Business; Progress.

SRS: cash register reform still stagnates, but has become much faster than it was last year

The cash registers reform continues stagnating. However, it has become much faster than it was a year ago, as reported by State Revenue Service.

Specialists to search for solutions to topical environmental problems in Ventspils

On Friday, 20 July, a meeting was held between Ventspils Commercial Port representatives and specialists from State Environment Service.

Children with functional disorders to receive services financed by EU funds

Child invalids will have access to social services intended to improve their social skills and mobility. More than EUR 4.2 million has been allocated for this goal from the European Social Fund, as confirmed by Latvia’s Central Financing and Contracting Agency.

Producer price level in industry up 4.3% in Latvia

Compared to June 2017, the average level of producer prices in Latvian industry increased by 4.3 % in June 2018. Prices of products sold on the domestic market rose by 4.8 % and those of exported products by 3.7 %.

Total tax debts in Latvia in July – 1.212 billion euros

At the beginning of July total tax debts in Latvia, including outstanding debts, halted debts and debts applied with repayment term extensions, accounted for EUR 1.212 billion, which is 0.8% less than a month prior, according to data from the State Revenue Service.

Survey: every third Latvian resident has received illegal loan offers

Nearly every third resident in Latvia or 31% of respondents admit having received offers to use illegal loan services, as concluded in a survey performed by Latvian Alternative Financial Services Association and SKDS.

Libya opposed to EU's idea to establish migrant centres in North Africa

Libya is against the solution of the European Union to set up migrant centres in the North African country as a means to keep migrants from arriving in the bloc and Libya would not be convinced with financial support, its Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj has noted.

Arrest warrant on Catalan ex-President cancelled by Spain

The Supreme Court of Spain cancelled a European arrest warrant for former Catalan regional leader Carles Puigdemont, as Germany refused to extradite him to face accusations of rebellion for declaring the independence of Spain's region, Catalonia in 2017.

Latvian government plans to allow handing expired food to charity

Latvia’s Agriculture Ministry has prepared amendments to the Law on the Supervision of the Handling of Food that provide permission to hand over certain types of food products to charity after the end of their expiry date.

Estonian industrial producer prices up 2.9% since June 2017

Estonian industrial producer price index has risen by 2.9% between June 2017 and the first summer month this year, resulting in an increase of export prices as well, Estonian statisticians have estimated.

Putin urges NATO to quit «irresponsibly» developing ties with Ukraine, Georgia

Russia's President Vladimir Putin cautioned NATO against developing deeper relations with Ukraine and Georgia, evaluating such a policy was irresponsible and would have consequences for the military alliance.

Latvian parliament not in a hurry to support president Vejonis for a second term

Political parties represented in the Saeima are not eager to support President Raimonds Vējonis for his remainder for a second term.

Weather in Latvia will remain warm and even hot at times

Weather in Latvia in the nearest couple of days will be dictated by a cyclone. Because of that the sky will be partially covered by clouds; thunderstorms are also expected, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Hungary sued in EU Court for criminalising help to illegal immigrants

The European Union's executive body has stated that a law in Hungary that criminalises support for illegal immigrants is in breach with EU law and Hungary has now been referred to the European Court of Justice for the alleged non-compliance.

Estonians buy alcohol in Latvia; country loses EUR 20 million in six months

Latvian stores located close to the Latvian-Estonian border have sold 1.6 million litres of strong alcoholic drinks in the first half year of 2019. This means Estonia has lost more than EUR 20 million in taxes, according to data from Association of Estonian Alcohol Producers and Importers.

Lithuania’s election watchdog slams ruling LFGU over popular TV series

Political messages can be channeled in various ways and the ruling now Lithuanian party, LFGU has chosen a very delicate way of the communications – through a TV series featuring the beauty and the ambiance of Naisiai, a picturesque settlement in Siauliai district.

Association: around 3,3000 people know of their HIV infection but receive no treatment

HIV remains a serious problem in Latvia – around 3,300 people are aware of their status but receive no treatment and continue spreading the infection. Because of that, it is necessary to act quickly for Latvia to lose its status as HIV kingdom and limit the spread of the infection, says Baltic HIV Association, informing decision-makers and responsible officials in institutions and hospitals about the HIV/AIDS situation.

Driver shortage may force reduction of international road haulage volumes

Latvia’s road haulage companies have started experiencing shortage of drivers. On top of that, if employment conditions for residents of non-EU member states do not change, it may be necessary to reduce the volume of road haulage volumes, says Latvijas auto president Valdis Trēziņš.

Lattelecom’s turnover up 9% in first half-year of 2018

Lattelecom Group’s turnover reached EUR 98.7 million in the first half-year of 2018, growing by 9% in comparison with the same period of 2017, according to unaudited financial results.

1,140 fewer births registered in Latvia in 2017

Since 2016 the number of births in Latvia is declining again. Compared to 2016, a total of 1,140 births fewer were registered in 2017. Also, the provisional number of births registered over the first six months of 2018 (9,664 children) is by 664 children smaller than that registered over the respective period of 2017.

Citadele Bank decides to reform Lithuanian subsidiary as a branch office

Citadele Bank has decided to reform its Lithuanian subsidiary as a branch office, as confirmed in the statement the bank submitted to Nasdaq Riga.

Russian pension age hike discussed amid protest outside Duma

As the Russian paliament votes on the proposal to gradually increase he pension age to 65 for men and 63 for women, some 200 people were seen protesting against the reform in Moscow.

Corruption watchdog chief says bureau has done no illegal actions

After going through Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau’s past investigative activities, the bureau’s chief – Jēkabs Straume – found it confusing that officers often took no appropriate actions after acquiring evidence or receiving indications regarding necessary steps.