Latviski English По-русски
Wednesday 26.06.2019 | Name days: Inguna, Inguns, Ausma, Ausmis

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

(+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

Skycop: not all people are aware of their right for flight delay compensation

Only 30% of travellers are aware of their rights to receive compensation in the event of flight delay (longer than three hours), cancellation or if seats for their flight were oversold.

Baltic States should discuss tax on alcohol together, prime ministers agree

Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš has discussed with Estonia’s Prime Minister Jüri Ratas the need to resolve the alcohol excise tax issue by all Baltic States together, said the leader of Latvia’s government at a press-conference on Tuesday, 25 June.

Latvian PM says it’s time to stop putting friends of politicians in charge of companies

It is time to put an end to the practice of putting people close to politicians in leading posts of companies, said Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to public broadcaster LNT programme 900 seconds, commenting on the future of Latvenergo after the suspension of its council.

Baltic states condemn renewal of Russia’s rights in Council of Europe

The foreign ministers of the three Baltic sates have condemned the restoration of Russia’s voting rights in the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly pointing to Moscow’s continued military aggression and disrespect to rule of law and human rights.

Latvia’s Fiscal Discipline Council predicts slight drop for country’s economy

Fiscal Discipline Council expects Latvia’s economy to drop slightly in the coming years. For 2020, the expected drop is -0.2 percentage points and -0.1 percentage points in 2021 and 2022. GDP growth rate for 2019 has not been changed.

U.S. city prohibits e-cigarette sales

The city of San Francisco has passed as the first city in the U.S. a ban on e-cigarette sales until their health effects are better studied.

Lembergs’ lawyer abandons ship right before the finish line of criminal proceedings

One of the lawyers serving the suspended Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs’ interests in proceedings of the so-called Lembergs criminal case has «abandoned the ship», so to say, right before the finish line. With Raimonds Krastiņš’ departure it may take longer to properly review the case, as reported by public broadcaster Latvian Television.

New force in Riga: excluded party members and independent deputy form a new faction

Deputies excluded from New Conservative Party’s faction in Riga City Council Druvis Kleins and Imants Keišs, as well as independent deputy Oskars Putniņš have decided to found their own faction, as confirmed by deputies.

Researchers expect one-third of UK-based Latvians to apply for British citizenship soon

In the next five years, one-third of Latvian citizens who now live in Britain plan to apply for British citizenship, according to a survey performed by researchers of the University of Latvia Institute of Philosophy and Sociology to determine the opinion of Latvian emigrants towards Brexit and its consequences.

Latvia’s prime minister expects minister to explain suspension of Latvenergo council

Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš intends to wait until the end of the week for explanations from Economy Minister Ralfs Nemiro in regards to the minister’s decision to suspend the council of the country’s energy giant Latvenergo, according to the prime minister’s issued resolution.

Key Turkish election won by opposition bringing change to largest city

In Turkey, the repeated mayoral election of Istanbul has been won by opposition candidate ending 25 years of the rule of the country’s governing AK party in largest city.

Latvia holds third highest growth rate in Europe’s innovation rating

Latvia is reported to have the third highest growth rate in the European Union, growing by 17.7 percentage points in the rating, according to outlooks of Europe’s Innovation Result and Regional Innovation Result.

Kaljulaid on Estonian Victory Day: Natural calamity more likely than warfare

Estonian president Kersti Kaljulaid has said in a speech on Estonia’s Victory Day remembering the hundred-year-old War of Independence that despite natural calamities being more likely than warfare in the country, everyone should be informed and prepared to help ensure Estonian.

Latvia’s Sigulda will not host part of 2026 Winter Olympic Games

The 2026 Winter Olympic Games will take place in Italy’s Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo, which have won in the competition for the right to host Olympic Games with Sweden, which planned to delegate certain ice sports to Latvia’s Sigulda.

Latvia’s prime minister not prepared to increase country’s budget deficit

Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš is not prepared to increase budget deficit to satisfy growing budget requests from ministries. The prime minister says every ministry has provided arguments in favour of increasing funding for their respective sectors from the 2020 state budget.

Washington hits Iran with new sanctions, target’s country’s Supreme Leader

United States President Donald Trump has announced imposing of tough, new sanctions against Iran also on the office of the Middle Eastern country's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

As scandals continue in Lithuania Latvian Railway praises company of ex-KGB agent’s wife

Latvian state company Latvian Railway (LDz) has had contracts worth dozens of million euros signed with the company owned by ex-KGB agent Yuri Simonenkov’s wife – SIA Sigmen – since 2005. While in Lithuania dealings with people who may or may not have ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin have caused a scandal...

Kazakhstan evacuates thousands of people after blasts at military depot

In Kazakhstan a munitions depot has been hit by a fire and major explosions, resulting in a mass evacuation of a town.

Week in Lithuania: Coalition expansion talks completed, Vilnius University up in global rankings

Last week, four parliamentary parties continued coalition negotiations, two men were sentenced for spying for Russia, Government vowed to reduce shadow income in construction and car sale sectors.

BNN weekly summary: Fall of Turlais, alcohol tit for tat, Latvenergo council sacked

This week a top theme in Latvia and Estonia was the alcohol excise tax. Latest events showed that Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas does not plan to cut the tax rates an further, commenting Latvia’s possible 15%-reduction of liquor excise tax rate.

Estonia not to deepen its U-turn on alcohol excise, after Latvian move

Following Latvian plan to retaliate to Estonia’s sharp drop of its alcohol excise tax rates, Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas has stated that Tallinn is not going to cut its rates any further.

Dombrovskis gives up MEP mandate to continue in European Commission

Valdis Dombrovskis, the Latvian politician having led in the European Parliament’s elections the list of New Unity, has decided to give up his mandate of a member of the European Parliament to continue in the European Commission for its remaining term.

Latvian State Audit tasked with damage recovery rights

The Saeima has passed in the final reading amendments to the State Audit Law authorising the public spending watchdog to recover damages from persons responsible for violations of law found during institutional inspections.

Latvia bans Soviet and Nazi uniforms in protests and meetings

The Latvian Saeima has passed in the final reading law amendments that would ban the wearing of the uniforms and elements of the armed forces and repressive institutions’ uniforms of the Soviet Union, its republics and the Nazi Germany.

Proposed EUR 40 mln compensation to Latvian Jewish community retracted

Latvian party alliance Development/For! has retracted its own draft law on the restitution in the amount of 40 million euros to the Latvian Jewish community for real estate confiscated by totalitarian powers in the mid-20th century in the then occupied Latvia.

Newest comments