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Wednesday 29.01.2020 | Name days: Valērijs, Aivars
LatviaLatvia

Employees of many businesses in Ventspils are not paid wages because of Lembergs

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Aivars Lembergs, sanctions, OFAC, Ventspils Freeport, Baltic Express, BATL, wages, banksCurrently there is a high risk of wages being delayed for many employees of companies that work at Ventspils port because banks, having no desire to study the situation with application of sanctions against Aivars Lembergs, have closed accounts of several companies to avoid the risk zone of being associated with Lembergs. Because of this policy, employees of those companies are likely to suffer the most, according to heads of trade unions of transit-related companies, who urge the government to speed up the situation’s resolution, as written by Ventsilnieks.lv.

As previously noted by Juris Juriss, the prosecutor in charge of the criminal case against Aivars Lembergs, the accused is the beneficial owner in a number of companies and his status is registered in Latvia’s Register of Enterprises. But this does not mean he controls assets and companies. The shares of those companies have not been in Lembergs hands since 2007, because ownership of them has been delegated to an official picked by the office of the prosecutor for the duration of the investigation of Aivars Lembergs criminal case.

However, banks do not take these arguments or documents submitted to them seriously, and instead have blocked multiple accounts used to pay wages to employees. Direct employees are paid wages, yes, but if a larger company finances a smaller one, neither the smaller companies nor their employees are paid money because of the banks’ policy on sanctions against Lembergs, Ventspilnieks.lv explains.

Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics board member Ivars Landmanis says the government needs to resolve this situation very quickly, because otherwise there are serious risks for families of more than 1 000 people employed in the transit sector ending up in a hopeless situation. «We have turned to government representatives with a request to provide a clear explanation to the US Department of the Treasury Office for Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) that Aivars Lembergs does not have and has not had any influence over those companies for more than a dozen years. We have also stated that this situation further escalates the problems in Latvia’s transit industry. Without a doubt, the government needs to act as quickly as possible to resolve this situation.»

«Like with the removal of sanctions from Ventspils Freeport, the government should act as quickly with the explanation that sanctions should not be applied to companies in which Lembergs had lost control and influence rights 12 years ago. Employees of these companies life from salary to salary; they have to pay for utilities, pay for kindergarten, and pay back loans, as well as have money to get by,» says AS Baltic Express trade union’s head Linards Gulbis.

«They cannot afford to wait while someone in the long corridors finally notices the problem.»

Olivers Kronbergs, chairman of Ventspils Commercial Port’s employees trade union, stresses that the future is put at risk with such a slow-down of economic operations. The workers are the ones who will suffer the most from this. «Both the government and the Finance and Capital Market Commission have said people employed in companies should not suffer from sanctions applied against Aivars Lembergs. But reality is different. Closed bank accounts have paralysed operations, and our employees are the ones who will suffer from it the most.»

Gulbis’ opinion is harsher: «The same banks because of which it is not possible to pay wages to employees, are not shy to ask from the same people 0.5% interest for every day of missed loan repayments, and they are not at all interested why residents are unable to pay up. As a result, we might end up in a situation when many people will have to consider the future of their future because of sanctions. Leave, look for a new home, or put faith in the country’s ability to protect them, objectively assess the situation and prevent the suffering of others because of one person.»

Gulbis told Ventspilnieks.lv that trade unions of companies working at Ventspils port will soon turn to the government with a request to resolve the situation.

«If Lembergs’ family, which has declared cash savings of EUR 150 000, is not shy to announce being unable to purchase food or pay for water, what can the people who have no savings and who have to pay for their children’s school lunches can say about their ability to pay bills and feed their family?» asks Gulbis.

Ventspilnieks.lv wants to ask the government the question that perhaps it is time to step in to prevent other people from suffering from consequences of sanctions applied to one person.


Leave a reply

  1. Ventspilnieks says:

    Its not because of Lbergs its because of our stupid goverment. They just wanted the port under their tumb to steal more money as always. They just used Lemberg as a tool to do so.

  2. Failed state says:

    Funny that many people think it is the right thing to do because of the media. Even state media is rigged. Sas sad country. Sorry Lithuania and Estonia you live next to morons.

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