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Monday 22.07.2019 | Name days: Marija, Marika, Marina
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«3A» related projects gain access to the money of EU structural funds

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Andris Škēle and Ainārs Šlesers

Even though it is said that influence has slipped from the hands of the so called «3A» or «old oligarch group» – Ainārs Šlesers, Aivars Lembergs and Andris Škēle – two companies related to this group managed to get to the high value added investment projects that are being co-funded by the European Union (EU) Structural Fund.

Both projects that will be given a 3 million LVL worth of financing, which is set to be approved by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in July, are related to the Rīgas tirdzniecības osta (Riga Commercial Port), which is being investigated by the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (CPCB) in relation to the so called oligarch case. Conversations between Šlesers and his appointed manager Viesturs Koziols in a room of Rīdzene Hotel, that were being listened in to by the CPCB revealed that the 3A secretly became the owners of Diena newspaper, Pietiek reports.

Both «old oligarchs» related projects are the only ones that are related to port activities and were confirmed in the second stage of the EU funds division; five other projects were declined. Riga Fertilizer Terminal also reached the three million LVL funding. The company’s project is the transportation of dry mineral fertilizers through Riga port territory. The project of the Rīgas centrālais terminals (Riga Central Terminal) was also lucky: its project provides for the expansion and the improvement of the current container cargo services. Both these companies are linked together by the fact that the owner of both of them, according to Lursoft, is RCP. The largest owner of Riga Fertilizer Terminal is a daughter company of Uralchem, but 49% of shares belong to RCP. Meanwhile the 100% owner of the RCT is RCP.

The compliance of transit companies for the high value added investment projects was previously doubted and explained with this industry’s political lobbying. The soil for proposing port transit companies to participate in the division of funds for EU funds was prepared while Artis Kampars (Unity) was the Economy Minister. At the time, Unity was is coalition with Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs’ Greens’ and Farmers’ Union. The Cabinet of Ministers included a special exception in the project application form that related to port machinery that are necessary for port services and are not considered transport and cannot pretend for relevant funding.

On Monday, Kampars did not answer the question as to why this exception was made – both the phone call and the text messaged sent to him were ignored. It is unofficially considered that this exception was made because it was part of a secret pact between Lembergs and Unity to save that government.

The fact that the Riga Fertilizer Terminal’s project is supported by the EU fund was confirmed by both the LIDA and the EM. LIDA Managing Director Andris Ozols denied giving any comments regarding whether or not the project of the RCT was supported.

The council board of both these companies are also considered the appointed managers of the 3A. Raivis Veckagans, who was on different posts at companies related to Lembers, is now in the Board of the RCT. There are also people representing Šlesers interests in the company board: such as, Jānis Maršals and RCP Manager Ralfs Klavins, who, according to the CPCB, is servicing both Šlesers and Škēle. Ralfs Klavins represents owner interests in the Council of Riga Fertilizer Terminal as well.

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