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Sunday 29.03.2020 | Name days: Agija, Aldonis
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KNAB to assess if sanctions against Lembergs are ground for ending state funding for UGF

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KNAB, Aivars Lembergs, corruption, sanctions, USA, OFAC, Ventspils Freeport, Ventas ostaCorruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) has commenced an inspection to see if the US sanctions applied against the suspended Mayor of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs could serve as ground for terminating state budget funding for the Union of Greens and Farmers (ZZS).

KNAB affirms that the bureau has started to review if the US sanctions applied against Lembergs could also apply to political parties For Latvia and Ventspils and ZZS.

Currently ZZS is eligible to state funding of EUR 59 409 following the 13th Saeima elections of 2018. This year the Saeima decided to increase funding for parties, which means starting with 2020 ZZS will start receiving EUR 489 163 a year. The first payment to the party’s account needs to be performed by 15 January 2020.

Lembergs is chairman of For Latvia and Ventspils political party. This party is also a partner party to ZZS.

Read also: Prosecutor: companies free of Lembergs’ influence will not be subjected to sanctions

On Tuesday, 17 December, Ventspils Freeport board decided to appoint Andris Purmalis as the new CEO of the freeport, as reported by Latvian Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits.

On Monday, 9 December, US Department of Treasury Office for Foreign Asset Control, based on the so-called Magnitsky law, established sanctions against a number of private persons and their organizations in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Aivars Lembergs is among those people.

The Magnitsky Law was signed by then the US President Barack Obama on 14 December 2012. It allows US authorities to arrest assets owned by people accused of violating human rights and suspected of corruption, as well as deny them entry to USA.

«Corruption has undermined the Latvian economy for years, robbing the Latvian people of funds for public services, and empowering illicit actors to harm the security of the Latvian state and the NATO Alliance,» reads the statement.

It is also stressed that USA has cooperated with Latvia’s government in efforts to prevent corruption.

OFAC has issued a Global Magnitsky General License No.1, which sets forth that within 30 days, cooperation has to be stopped with those on the list of sanctions – Aivars Lembergs, the Ventspils Development Agency, the Business Development Association and Latvian Transit Business Association.

In accordance with the sanctions, all properties owned by Lembergs and aforementioned entities, shares in properties and in entities owned directly or indirectly individually, or with the mediation of other persons, where their shares exceed 50%, which are located in the USA or are owned or controlled by persons of the USA, are blocked and have to be reported to the OFAC.

This means all transactions to and from Ventspils Freeport authority, Ventspils Development Agency, Business Development Association and Latvian Transit Business Association will be blocked.

Meanwhile, Aivars Lembergs has also decided to step down as chairman of the board of Venspils Freeport board.


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