Latviski English По-русски
Monday 18.02.2019 | Name days: Kintija, Kora

Retroactively dated «agreement», name crossed from shareholders list and influence in 90s around the corner – Lembergs’ court hearings continue

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUSleepiness, bored accused, discussions regarding how much of the enormous text of official charges is left, many lines of names of companies in which he had shares and Ventspils of the 90s, when Aivars Lembergs’ influence was felt around every corner – these topics were at the heart of the renewed court debates after judges returned from vacation to continue reviewing the criminal case launched against Aivars Lembergs, Anrijs Lembergs and Ansis Sormulis.

This court session was attended by judges Boriss Geimans, Irīna Jansone, Ligita Kuzmane and reserve judge Ārija Ždanova, as well as prosecutor Jānis Ilsteris, lawyers Jānis Rozenbergs, Oskars Rode and Irina Kauke, and the accused – Aivars Lembergs, Anrijs Lembergs and Ansis Sormulis.

Court sessions at Riga Regional Court take place four times a week: Monday to Thursday from 10:00 to 16:00. It has been nine and a half years since court hearings first began. Proceedings have since reached a point for court debates.

Crossed out name on list of shareholders and, possibly, illegally requested shares

At the first meeting after a long break, focus was put on Lembergs’ activities and influence in Ventspils in the 90s. Judges also went through testimonies of other people – to see how trustworthy they, whether they were influenced and how much can be concluded regarding criminal charges. Within almost six hours the text read by the prosecutor mentioned more than a dozen names of companies that are associated with the case. It is believed that Lembergs had used threats to receive shares from them. Shell companies were then founded to hide extorted finances.

Prosecutor Jānis Ilsteris read that, for example, Lichtenstein-based Ventk Limited representative in Ventspils Andrejs Damburgs mentioned in his testimony that in the 90s everyone had to listen to Lembergs’ opinion. «Philosophically speaking, Lembergs’ influence was felt in the entire city and port. He [Aivars Lembergs] followed and controlled activities of businesses working in the city from his post as chairman of Ventspils City Council. You could tell it just from what people said, from newspapers, as well as other businessmen I’ve communicated with.»

From this the prosecutor’s office concluded that «if a person has this kind of influence in the city, there are reasons to believe he [Lembergs] had requested shares from Ventk Limited». Charges also mention that Aivars Lembergs had issued threats to Ainārs Gulbis and had illegally acquired company shares from him.

The prosecutor also read from the debate text that to hide the fact that he [Aivars Lembergs] owns shares in companies like Ventk Ltd., MiltiNord AG and Ventamonjaks, his name was crossed from the list of shareholders during a meeting of Ventk Ltd. shareholders in 1994. There was also the signing of a forged document or «agreement» with a retroactive date between Vladimirs Krastiņš and Aivars Lembergs. This document hides Lembergs’ status as a shareholder in MultiNord AG, according to charges.

The deceased Juris Šķibelis was a witness in the criminal case regarding extortion of capital shares of SIA Lat Transnafta. According to the text from the prosecution, Aivars Lembergs had requested Ansis Sormulis to demand capital shares in SIA Lat Transnafta from Naftas parks-100 director Juris Šķibelis. «If hadn’t listened to Ansis Sormulis, I would have been become unemployed. I could no longer manage SIA Lat Transafta, I could not make any decisions. I was a doormat, someone who did as Lembergs and Sormulis ordered. I performed technical duties – signed document others brought to me,» Šķibelis mentioned in his testimony. When asked by the prosecutor if he agrees with this testimony, Sormulis said he does not, adding that he has never voiced threats on behalf of Lembergs.

Jadviga Paškeviča, who was one the head of Ventspils City Council Chancellery, mentioned in her testimony about different stamps that were used to approve «more or less legal documents». She also mentioned when and how those stamps were destroyed. During the interview, the prosecutor’s office had observed that witnesses who worked under Aivars Lembergs in the 90s, had been influenced by their former employer, which is why they had lied about the situation in the city council in relation to crimes committed in the 90s.

It should be added that on 2 August 1994 Ventspils City Council Chancellery did not exist as a separate office, but some documents detail dates long before this time.

Is the half of debate texts already read?

During the discussion between prosecutor Jānis Ilsteris and lawyers regarding the volume of debate text that had been read up to that point, the prosecutor mentioned: «Saying half would be too optimistic. I would say a third, at best.» «Well, we have ten minutes here and there, but we have lost a whole month. But if we keep this pace up, we might finish before New Year’s.»

To finish up before New Year’s, the prosecutor continues reading the text, which details that Anrijs Lembergs had founded Camden Stiftung fund with no real owner – that is to say nowhere is it possible to find the entry that the true beneficiary of this fund is Aivars Lembergs. The prosecutor also continues presenting information that this fund was used by Lembergs to hide his ownership of shares in Ventk Ltd. and MultiNord AG. The question is – if acquisition of shares was legal and management was fair, why hide them? Was it to conceal them from prying eyes? Charges mention that credit cards were made for the entire Lembergs family. Those cards were financed using funds from Camden Stiftung. After some time, all four VISA credit cards were destroyed. The family had spent USD 1.5 million together – using up all the money in the fund, the prosecutor’s office states.

After the last 15-minute reading, one of the lawyers asked the court to cut the session short at 14:45, because the lawyer had to travel to Jurmala to participate in another court session regarding waste management.

BNN had previously reported that different deals are a regular sight during court sessions dealing with Lembergs’ case. Sometimes sessions start at around 11:00 and end at around 15:30. A couple of times sessions ended abruptly at 13:00. From 17 January to 5 June, the court managed to ‘save’ 20 hours and 19 minutes by ending sessions abruptly like that.

Following one of the lawyer’s ‘example’, Aivars Lembergs also requested to cut the court hearing of the next day short – at around 11:00. The reason given is that he needs to visit his physiotherapist. Nevertheless, Judge Geimans made it clear that one request is enough, adding that tomorrow’s session will commence at 10:00 sharp.

Charges against Lembergs and two other accused also include bribery in large amounts, money laundering, forgeries, abuse of power and other crimes.

Materials of the case are compiled in 200 volumes. The prosecutor’s office submitted said materials to the court for commencement of proceedings in 2008.

A total of 71 court sessions were planned to take place this year from January to June this year. Only 32 have taken place so far. 39 of them have been cancelled for one reason or another, according to information provided by Riga Regional Court.

Leave a reply

Week in Lithuania. Lithuania to hold referendum on reducing number of MPs

A referendum on reducing the number of lawmakers to 121 from the existing 141 will be held on May 12 alongside the presidential election in Lithuania, the country's parliament has decided after 58 lawmakers voted in favour on Thursday, February 14, 42 were against and two abstained.

Latvian President: All should acknowledge constitutional values as their own

At the anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia, President Raimonds Vējonis, urged everyone in Latvia «to acknowledge the values of the Constitution as one's own and be ready to stand for the basic law both in big issues and in aspects of daily life».

Court rules EUR 200 thousand bail for criminal suspect of Riga transport firm

A court in the Latvian capital has set at 200 000 euros the bail money for ex-board chairman of the Riga public transport company Rīgas satiksme, who is a suspect in the criminal case over possible corrupt procurement dealings at the municipal firm.

Grave terror attack shakes Kashmir, conflict region of India, Pakistan

A terror attack has taken place in the disputed region of Kashmir, a long source of argument between India and Pakistan, taking the lives of 44 people.

British parliament rejects government's approach to Brexit talks

As the government of the United Kingdom sought the backing of the British Parliament to its strategy for the remaining weeks of Brexit talks with the European Union, a motion endorsing the government's strategy was rejected with a majority of 45 votes.

Lithuanian lawmakers set to backtrack on «Norwegian-type» child welfare protection

The Lithuanian lawmakers have sent this week a mixed message on their resolve to root out child abuse in Lithuanian families. As the MPs backtracked from the stringent Norwegian-type child welfare protection law to a more lenient one, not-criminalizing corporal punishment in certain cases, some experts warn that the reverse can trigger a spike of child abuse cases.

Drivers warned in Latvia as roads slippery in warmer temperatures

Black frost is hampering driving on Latvia's main and regional roads. The road administration body Latvijas Valsts ceļi (LVC) says that maintenance teams are covering the roads with antiskid materials and advises drivers to be very careful.

Programmer, physiotherapist and pilot – top professions on Latvian Job Shadow Day

The Job Shadow Day 2019 was held on February 13 in Latvia and the professions of programmer, physiotherapist and pilot were the most attractive as 1 545 companies offered the chance to follow working specialists throughout the day, according to the data by Junior Achievement Latvia.

Macedonia starts name-change from signs to currency, passports

Macedonia's official gazette has published the name-change agreement, launching a campaign of renaming the country as North Macedonia and allowing for its accession to NATO and eventually the European Union.

Dozens of British ex-ambassadors call for delay of Brexit

A group of over 40 British ex-ambassadors have urged the country's Prime Minister Theresa May to delay the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, British media report.

Port of Ventspils sees 40% boost in cargo turnover on year

Cargo turnover at the Freeport of Ventspils has in January 2019, compared to the respective month in 2018, jumped by 40.12% or 593 tonns, according to data from the Port Administration.

New CEO of Rail Baltic project is Finnish railway executive Riihimäki

To advance the pan-Baltic railway project, the Supervisory Board of RB Rail AS has appointed Timo Riihimäki as Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of the Management Board of the Rail Baltica Joint Venture.

Latvian PM sees no chance no significantly raise teacher salaries in 2019

Despite promises to teachers made by the previous government, Latvia is currently unable to significantly raise the wages of teachers, because it would require either increasing the budget deficit or higher taxes, Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš has told on Wednesday, in an interview with LNT's programme 900 sekundes.

Estonian startups attract EUR 328 million in 2018

The Estonian startup sector has in 2018 attracted combined investments of 328 million euros with Taxify, Pipedirve and Monese being the top performers, according to calculations by Startup Estonia.

U.S. sees power vacuum in Eastern Europe as exploited by Russia, China

U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo evaluated that in Eastern Europe, China and Russia endanger the democratic and free-market gains made since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 by the means of predatory investment and political meddling.

Ukraine peace agreement not fulfilled, UN finds

The Minsk peace accord of 2015 stands unimplemented in eastern Ukraine as over 3,300 people have been killed and 1.5 million people displaced in the five-year conflict, U.N. officials stated.

Latvian conductor Nelsons wins Grammies in U.S.

Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons has added two Grammy music awards to his list of honours for the work with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. At the Grammy music awards ceremony in the U.S. on Sunday, February 10, the Latvian won the prize for the best orchestral performance with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the record Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4&11.

Riga Mayor survives another no-confidence vote

The embattled Mayor Riga Nils Ušakovs has survived a vote of no-confidence as the opposition parties criticised him over corruption scandals involving the Riga City Council.

Justice Minister: Justice does exist in Latvia, but it's selective

«I'm in politics precisely, because as a citizen and a lawyer, I wasn't satisfied with the influence on the court and political system from people, operating outside these spheres. To my mind, this influence is the reason of long trials in Latvia. Another problem is the lack of specialists, who could solve economic crimes – if politicians would be very interested in this, many cases would have been solved over the past ten years. There are two options: there have either been unprofessional politicians, or they have been interested in having the situation remain the way it was,» said Latvian Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns in an interview with the BNN.

Spain starts historic trial against Catalan independence figures

Spain is beginning court proceedings against 12 leaders of the region of Catalonia for their role in the region's independence referendum and the subsequent declaration of separation from Spain.

Estonia convicts ex-army officer, his father for treason

A court in Tallinn has convicted ex-officer of the Estonian Defence Forces, Deniss Metsavas, his father for state treason, finding them guilty of selling state secrets to Russian intelligence.

Troubles continue in Latvian anti-establishment party KPV LV

In the Latvian anti-establishment party KPV LV, Saeima member Linda Liepiņa has decided to leave the post of the party's Co-chairperson and member of the board.

Thaw and warm temperatures expected in Latvia this week

The weather in Latvia, in the first part of the week will be mostly warm for winter-time and precipitation in the form of rain and wet snow can be expected, according to a weekly forecast from the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Defence Minister: Deployment of allied missiles in Latvia is «dreaming»

The issue of the deployment of the missiles of allied forces in Latvia is far from being relevant, «it's dreaming», commented Latvian Defence Minister on Monday, February 11, in an interview with LTV's news programme Rīta panorāma

Hungary' s mothers of four to be exempt from paying income tax

In Hungary, the government is boosting financial support to families with several children, according to measures presented by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. On Sunday, February 10, the significant measures announced by Viktor Orbán during an annual address, encouraging women to have more children.

Newest comments