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Wednesday 17.10.2018 | Name days: Karīna, Gaits

NCP member turns to corruption watchdog over Lembergs daughter’s offshore network

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUMember of the New Conservative Party and former worker of Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau Juris Jurašs has submitted a request to the bureau, asking for an investigation of materials published by journalists about offshore network of the daughter of the suspended Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs’, according to an announcement on social media.

Re:Baltica investigative journalism centre wrote that thanks to the latest information leak from legal persons registered in ‘tax havens’, at least partial value of properties owned by Aivars Lembergs daughter has surfaced for the first time.

According to Re:Baltica, after last year’s scandal with Mossack Fonseca, which was responsible for hiding actual properties and income of celebrities, oligarchs, criminals and other wealthy people, had sent a letter to a firm in Britain in March 2017.

The law firm in question did that in order to purge its list of clients. Two months after the leak that revealed the true assets of many well-known people, including associates of Russia’s president, Ukraine’s president, Iceland’s prime minister and famous football players, Mossack Fonseca was still unable to identify actual owner for more than 70% of approximately 39,000 companies registered in British Virgin Isles and Panama.

One of them was Hoshen Limited located in British Virgin Isles. Mossack Fonseca considered it too risky of a client. The amount of information available for it and its activities was insufficient to meet requirements of the law. Because of that, Mossack Fonseca decided to drop it.

In its response, the firm supplied a copy of the true beneficiary’s passport and their signed documents about the origin of money and the company’s place in the offshore network owned by them. The letter was signed by Līga Lemberga. In the supplied documents she mentioned that the money came from a trust fund, whose asset value is at least USD 10 million. She also mentioned she is a beneficiary in this trust fund.

After receiving more information in May 2017, Mossack Fonseca decided to continue cooperation with Hoshen Limited and its owner.

This is the first time news about property owned by Lembergs’ daughter have made it to the public space, Re:Baltica adds.

Re:Baltica gained access to documents as a member of International Research Journalism Consortium. The latest documents associated with Mossack Fonseca were provided by Suddeutsche Zeitung. While the previous documents covered the period of time until 2015, Panama 2 leak covered the period until the end of 2017. In the ‘old’ documents Lembergs daughter was mentioned as a director of some offshore firm, Re: Baltica adds.

Cerise Trust Savings, which was founded in 1992, which, according to Līga Lemberga, holds assets worth at least USD 10 million, only barely appear in Lembergs’ criminal case, Re:Baltica reports.

Swiss laywer Rudolf Meroni testified in the criminal case that Cerise Trust is a trust fund owned by Aivars Lembergs’ family. This fund also manages a number of other companies. Both of Lembergs’ children are mentioned as beneficiaries in another litigation – in London, where AS Latvian Shipping Company tried enforcing from Lembergs USD 135 million for international fraud.

So far documents state that Līga Lemberga became a beneficiary of the 1992-dounded trust fund in 2003. Unfortunately, the real owners of Bachmann Trust Company (founded Cerise Trust) remain unknown. Ventspils businessman Olafs Berķis testified in court that following Aivars Lembergs’ orders he put Bachmann Trust Company as a shareholder in other companies associated with business in Ventspils.

The newly-uncovered network of companies is not featured in Lembergs’ criminal case, Re:Baltica underlines. Most companies were registered after Lembergs was called in to Riga Regional Court in 2008.

Re:Baltica reports that it is unknown why Līga Lemberga or the trust fund need a network of offshores.

In his response to journalists, Lembergs said his children are 42 and 43 years old and can make their own independent life choices.

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