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Wednesday 01.04.2020 | Name days: Dagne, Dagnis
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Ministry: to prevent damaging Latvian sports sector’s reputation, Lembergs should leave LOK

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Aivars Lembergs, Aldons Vrubļevskis, LOK, USA, sanctions, dismissal, corruption, OFAC

Aivars Lembergs

To avoid letting US sanctions negatively affect Latvian Olympic Committee (LOK) and spread to the reputation of the country’s sports sector, the ministry can only ask Aivars Lembergs step down as member of LOK Executive Committee, BNN was told by Education and Science Ministry.

As stressed by the ministry: «Latvian Olympic Committee (LOK) is a non-government organization the executive committee of which also has Aivars Lembergs. It was voted on by members of the committee on 30 September 2016 General Assembly’s election session. The executive committee was composed and functions in accordance with statutes.»

«Although LOK also receives state budget funds, Education and Science Ministry cannot order LOK to add changes to its management or executive committee’s composition,» says the ministry, adding that Lembergs’ presence in LOK Executive Committee could negatively impact the reputation of Latvia’s sports sector.

On 10 December, BNN contacted LOK President Aldons Vrubļevskis’ press-secretary Mārtiņš Mālmeisters. There was also a meeting of the executive committee held the same day. Nevertheless, LOK stresses that the topic of Lembergs’ dismissal was not discussed. Still, this topic may yet be put on the table. The next meeting of the executive committee is scheduled for January next year.

LOK representative says – for the topic of Lembergs’ dismissal to have surfaced at the 10 December meeting, when it was mentioned that USA added him to its black list, LOK needs some additional signal that would suggest Lembergs’ presence in LOK Executive Committee could affect the organization’s work.

When BNN mentioned that LOK chairman Vrubļevskis has worked with Ventspils Development Agency, which is included on the list of companies against which USA has established sanctions, Mālmeisters said it is unclear to him how this could affect LOK.

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.

More on this topic: What is Ventspils Development Agency and what will its members do now?

It should be said that under the current situation, when Latvia is trying to fulfil Moneyval requirements to avoid ending up in the «grey list», and with Lembergs on the US black list, banks will pay increased attention to all payments going to and from these structures, companies and committees with ties to Lembergs.

It should be added here that Olympic Centre Ventspils (OC Ventspils) is a capital association owned by LOK and Ventspils City Council.

Additionally, documents BNN has access to show that OC Ventspils chief Jurģis Liepājnieks makes sure OC Ventspils is a member in Lembergs’ managed association Ventspils Development Agency and LOK president Vrubļevskis maintains a contract with OC Ventspils.

BNN is aware that ever since2014 LOK President Vrublevskis is paid a wage at OC Ventspils as its shareholder’s representative from LOK. His income is thereby increased with EUR 1 700 a month or EUR 20 400 a year before taxes.

It is should be said that the payment of wages to a shareholder’s representative is the duty of the shareholder – LOK in this particular case. LOK can entrust this function to its president or decide on additional remuneration from LOK budget.


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