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Latvian Railway Council postpones exacting changes in company’s board

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Latvian Railway President Edvīns Bērziņš

On Wednesday, 5 June, Latvian Railway (LDz) Council did not discuss the matter regarding the dismissal of LDz board chairman Edvīns Bērziņš and two board members – Aivars Strakšas and Ainis Stūrmanis, as journalists were told by LDz Council chairman Jānis Lange.

As it is known, on 7 May Latvia’s Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits publicly voiced distrust to Bērziņš, Strakšas and Stūrmanis, and asked LDz Council to dismiss them from their posts.

The minister mentioned the main factor that prompted him to voice distrust is the possible distortion of competition, which creates risks for LDz and Latvia. The minister said he has seen information regarding possible corruption, adding that this information has been passed to Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB).

Additionally, Linkaits said several suspicious economic deals have been noticed, including marketing and promotion contracts worth millions, which implies the company’s board does not act as a strong and rational manager.

LDz board members, in response to the minister’s criticisms, that Linkaits’ statements regarding the company’s management are aimed at preparing LDz for privatization.

Chairman of Latvia’s Privatization Agency Vladimirs Loginovs was critical in his assessment of such statements. He said in his interview to BNN: «Latvian Railways board chairman Edvīns Bērziņš speculates a lot and uses rather incorrect statements using the word ‘privatization’. In his corporate conflict he is trying to avert attention away from the topic of relations between the company’s board and shareholders».

Loginovs stresses that the law makes it clear – Latvian Railway, as a state company, can neither be privatized nor alienated. «Both words are made very clear by the law. This is why Privatization Agency pays so much attention to Bērziņš’s statement – because it misleads society into thinking such measures are possible.»

Bērziņš and Strakšas, meanwhile, have asked State Police to commence criminal process against Linkaits for defamation.

Meanwhile State Railway Administration has sent to Transport Ministry and LDz Council a letter in which the institution requests authorities «to assess the behaviour of leading LDz officials – Edvīns Bērziņš and Aivars Strakšas – in submitting an application containing false information» and thereby «discrediting State Railway Administration», previously said the administration’s head Juris Iesalnieks.


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