bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Ceturtdiena 22.08.2019 | Name days: Rudīte, Everts
LatviaLatvia

Latvian Justice Minister: Court of Economic Cases would tear up crippling schemes

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+2 rating, 2 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Latvian Minister of Justice Jānis Bordāns

«When the strength of the Union of Farmers and Greens was in the Latvian government and people backed by it held senior posts, Latvia ended up with a disputed court system and long criminal processes. Once this party lost its place in politics, the posts of the persons supported by it immediately started to become unsteady,» Latvian Minister of Justice Jānis Bordāns said in an interview with BNN. According to him, there is no surprise that certain people are not satisfied with changes in the country that are needed very much.

«Those, who oppose it, just want to doom us to life in poverty»

Latvian Prosecutor General Ēriks Kalnmeiers, judge of the Riga Regional Court Juris Stukāns and Supreme Court chairman Ivars Bičkovičs – some of those, who do not favour Bordāns’ idea of creating a Court of Economic Cases. To the mind of the minister, the plan is not supported as it threatens the current posts of numerous people, where they have «settled in cosily».

«The opponents of the plan realise that there will be torn up the schemes, which have been operated for decades, as to how to achieve the specific, necessary verdict and how to decisively damage the case just before going to court. Such schemers, there aren’t many of them, but they have a high profile and are able to ensure deals on large sums to influential people,» Bordāns believes.

According to the Justice Minister, a Court of Economic Cases is one of the priority tasks in Latvia. Namely, it would be a court specialising in trying commercial disputes, financial and economic crime cases. Bordāns claims that in this court, there would work judges and prosecutors, who are professionals in their area and who do not have a dubious reputation.

In the public domain, the minister’s plan has been met with both criticism and praise. The Latvian Justice minister notes: «The idea is supported by the Foreign Investors’ Council in Latvia and entrepreneurs – those facing the problem. It is not backed by people, who have this far administered the court system and court policy».

«Mr Stukāns is just one of those, who do not like the idea. It mostly lacks the support of the heads of the highest-level courts, for example, from the senate. There are numerous judges and heads of court, who agree that a Court of Economic Cases is necessary. Only they are not such high-profile officials as, for example, Mr Bičkovičs and other members of the Council for the Judiciary. Kalnmeiers, he does not support the idea either.»

Speaking about the concern that has been expressed that this new court would mean unnecessary additional spending, Bordāns emphasises that these are speculations and the wish of certain people to remain in their favourable positions. «The creation of such a court would not cause significant additional spending to the state. It is possible to find judges. They would need working space, which we have. We have staff units, so that is no additional spending. That’s a make-believe [problem]

As to the efficiency of this court in Latvia, the minister explains: «The circulation of economic activity would commence. Every country having business, economic and financial centres, starts with putting the court system in order and making it efficient. Those, who oppose it, simply want to doom us to life in poverty».

«Because of Kalnmeiers, we are embroiled in international scandals»

The announcement by Bordāns that he had no confidence in the current Latvian Prosecutor General Ēriks Kalnmeiers echoed loudly both in the public and the Saeima. In the Latvian parliament, there have been collected the necessary 34 signatures of the members of parliament to initiate the suggested review the suitability of Kalnmeiers to his post.

«Kalnmeiers holding the post for almost a decade has resulted in Latvia being on the black list of Moneyval. I think that in any country this would have caused a scandal of some scale and raised the issue of whether the head of the Office of the Prosecutor General is suitable to hold his position. In addition, there have been the Rīdzene talks and «the work» by a Saeima investigative committee with them. All these scandals end up suggesting that the reputation of the Office of the Prosecutor General is dubious», comments Bordāns.

Likewise, the notes: «Speaking about recent events, just recently there was a report from the State Audit Office, where two loud facts were mentioned. First, in the Office of the Prosecutor General, there was inefficient use of large funding spent on repair works that were in breach of the law. Second, long-time bonuses have been paid to the staff of the prosecutor’s office, which was described by the State Audit Office as a violation. Concerning such cases, for example, the Office of the Prosecutor General, has itself launched criminal cases against other persons.»

The minister also says that there is food for thought in, why interviews with Kalnmeiers regularly appear in the «necessary moments» in media controlled by politician and long-time crime defendant Aivars Lembergs. «It is very evident – everyone can see for themselves. Questions and answers that are published are very targeted».

As the minister evaluates, Kalnmeiers calling the decision by Bordāns political and voicing fears it could draw international criticism, showed: «It is the work of Kalnmeiers that has drawn Latvia in international scandals – both with money laundering and damaged criminal cases, where bribery issues are persecuted. Latvia has already been pulled into a series of global and European scandals and the reason is directly linked to the work of Kalnmeiers. Thus, it is really because of Kalnmeiers that we are in international scandals. And my efforts are directed toward us solving the current situations and showing that Latvia is able to deal with such problems».

Bordāns does not deny that it would be a difficult task for Latvia to find a chairman of the Office of the Prosecutor General. He says that one of the problems visible in Latvia is that to select good staff, people are chosen, who are appointed to high positions not because of professional motives, but because of selfish interests.

«Consequently, strong candidates often fail to apply. For this reason, a similar situation could be characteristic to the prosecutor’s office,» says Bordāns. The Latvian Minister of Justice, however, explained that among layers, prosecutors and judges, there can be found people, who would take up this position because of professional motives.

According to Bordāns, the possible candidates have been discussed, yet he does not want to give names, believing that it was too early to discuss them publicly. The minister highlights that for this position, it is possible to find a person the public can trust and who would also have a clean reputation.


Leave a reply

Lithuania backs Sinkevičius as European Commission nominee

The Lithuanian parliament on Thursday, August 22, voted to support Virginijus Sinkevičius, the Lithuanian Minister of the Economy and Innovation, as the country’s pick for the next European Commission.

New member of Riga Freeport board rushes to meet controversial Šlesers, TV Ziņas says

Riga councilman Sandris Bergmanis has a day after being elected to the board of the Freeport of Riga Authority met with businessman and former Latvian minister Ainārs Šlesers, according to the news programme TV3 Ziņas.

Latvian power production drops to lowest level in year

Energy companies in Latvia produced 357 655 megawatt hours of power in July, which is the lowest level of national power output since July 2018. This allowed to cover 64% of the Latvian electricity consumption, according to AS Augstsprieguma tīkls.

Compensation payments of defunct Latvian PNB Banka begin

With operations of the Latvian bank, AS PNB Banka, stopped, the process of paying the guaranteed compensation to its clients has begun on August 22, according Citadele, the lender tasked with the payments.

Riga planning to introduce tourist fee – one euro per day

The Riga City Council is discussing a plan to introduce a tourist fee charging all places of tourist accommodation a fee of one euro per day.

Expert: With Belarus electricity freezing Baltics’ solidarity, Moscow is over the moon

In a blow to Lithuania’s far-reaching plans, Latvia has announced it looks forward to buying electricity from a nuclear power plant in Belarus’ Astravyets under construction 50 kilometres away from Vilnius.

WHO: Little risk from microplastics in drinking water

The World Health Organization has declared that the current level of microplastic particles in drinking water does not pose is not a serious risk for health, yet more research was necessary to determine their effects on human health.

Subsidies to controversial Riga transport company could increase by EUR 20 mln

Amid the criticism of the Riga municipal transport company Rīgas satiksme for its losses and their effect on the Latvian state budget, a plan has been voiced to increase its subsidies, now 120 million euros, by another 20 million euros, Latvian Radio reports.

Latvian Minister keeping adviser detained by corruption watchdog for now

Latvian Agriculture Minister Kaspars Gerhards will clarify the reason, why his advisor and the mayor of the city of Ogre, Egils Helmanis, has been detained by corruption investigators, to decide on keeping him in office.

Trump, Macron willing to readmit Russia to G7, despite Crimea annexation

The leaders of France and the United States have expressed their backing to readmitting Russia to the G7 conference of world powers in 2020, despite Ukraine’s Crimea still being held by Moscow, CNN reports.

Latvian excise tax income up by 8% in first half of 2018

The Latvian excise tax income in the first half of 2019 has been 521 million euros, –an increase by 39 million euros, or 8.1% – compared to the respective period last year, showed data by the Latvian State Revenue Service.

Latvian PM: Most of freely available 2020 budget funds already earmarked

Discussing the 2020 Latvian national budget, Latvian prime minister Krišjānis Kariņš pointed out that its fiscal space is limited by previous decisions and that the expected losses of the Riga transport company will not permit raising wages and pensions nationally.

Corruption watchdog detains Ogre city mayor Helmanis

The Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has on Wednesday detained the mayor of central Latvian city of Ogre, Egils Helmanis, according to LETA news agency.

New members to Freeport of Riga Authority elected, despite criticism

The Riga City Council elected to the Board of the Freeport of Riga Authority, mayor Oļegs Burovs and councilman Sandris Bergmanis, despite heavy criticism of the latter for incompetence and lack of vision.

Italy loses government, coalition of right-wing, anti-establishment parties collapses

Italy has lost its government with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announcing resignation after the right-wing League party pushed for no-confidence motion to its own government.

Kaljulaid opposed to Estonian minister after police chief scandal

Alleging that Estonian Interior Minister Mart Helme has violated the law by trying to sack top police chief, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid has stated that the minister has no place in the government.

Planned Latvian economic cases’ court conceptually backed by government

The plan by the Latvian Ministry of Justice to establish a court of economic cases has on Tuesday, August 20, been supported by the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers.

Riga deputy mayor posts go to Harmony and independent politician

In the Riga City Council, deputy mayors have been elected with one post going to Anna Vladova from Harmony and the other – to Vadims Baraņņiks from the group of independent councilmen.

Latvia charges energy company executives for attempted fraud

Two board members of Latvian power company SIA Rīgas enerģija have been charged in a criminal case for an attempt to acquire with deceit the rights to supply electricity as part of the mandatory procurement component programme.

Consumer protection: 34% of Latvians admit post-vacation financial difficulties

During vacation, 77% of Latvians spend more money than planned, but 34% admit having trouble making ends meet after vacation, according to a poll by the Latvian Consumer Protection Centre.

Firms like Riga transport company to be banned from working with losses, minister says

As the European Union’s statisticians have classified the Riga municipal transport company Rīgas satiksme in the debt of the national budget, it is planned in Latvia to prohibit such companies from working with losses, Latvian Finance Minister Jānis Reirs has told LNT 900 sekundes programme.

Minor dies in large fire in Latvia

An underage person has been found dead in a large fire in the Latvian region of Vidzeme, the Latvian Fire and Rescue Service has said. Person wascsaved from burning house in Liepāja.

UK aims to end free entry of EU citizens on October 31

UK to stop free migration from European Union member states to the country right after the likely no-deal Brexit on October 31, the British government has stated.

Riga city elects new mayor – Oļegs Burovs – and restores decade-old coalition

The Riga City Council has elected Oļegs Burovs as the new mayor, ending two months of political discussions and restoring the coalition that has ruled in the Latvian capital for ten years.

EU: Rīgas satiksme cuts Latvian budget fiscal room in 2020 by 72 mln EUR

The Riga city company Rīgas satiksme should, according to European Union criteria, be in included in the general government sector, thus it would cut the fiscal space of the 2020 Latvian state budget by 72 million euros, Finance Ministry stated.