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Monday 24.09.2018 | Name days: Agris, Agrita

Riga’s Vice-Mayor denies Ainars Šlesers acted as his «task master»

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUVice-Mayor of Riga and chairman of Riga Freeport Andris Ameriks denied during a meeting of the Saeima’s Investigative Committee on Monday, 11 December, that former politician Ainārs Šlesers acted as his «task master».

He told the committee that he has gone through materials published by Ir magazine only partially. Ameriks said that he hasn’t bought issue itself, but he has read through materials published by Ir magazine on its website.

Ameriks said the published materials may be only partially authentic. During the criminal process Ameriks was presented with only one recording from talks, but there were ‘hardly any curse words’. He was invited by law enforcement authorities to testify on only one conversation even though the criminal process was already over.

As head of the parliamentary committee, Inguna Sudraba interviewed him about his and then active politician and Vice-Mayor of Riga Ainārs Šlesers’ role in Ameriks’ approval as chairman of Riga Freeport. He explained that Šlesers received only one vote back then. «Considering that I was board member back then, I had more experience. Members of the state and municipality made their choice and expressed their support,» said Ameriks.

He explained to the committee that he has been engaged in politics longer than Šlesers and that both shared similar political views once. Still, Ameriks says he never considered Šlesers as his «task master».

«He [Šlesers] is a capable enough politician. But we have never discussed topics of particular interest to me and that I should lobby interests of some businesses,» said Ameriks.

Also, Ameriks said he knows nothing of Šlesers’ secret ownership rights in businesses, even though Ameriks is informed of his vision for the freeport’s development.

When asked about the agreement between the freeport and Mediju nams, Ameriks replied by saying that the chairman of the board of the freeport has only one vote and that this official is unable to decide alone on making or terminating contracts. «I can sign decisions made by the board and voted on by its members,» said Ameriks and added that the freeport has had dealings with the media, including Mediju nams. Still, the board does not partake in resolving matters associated with advertisements.

Sudraba asked Ameriks to explain what Šlesers meant when he said that «Russian schools in Riga are the real gold mine», because residence permit recipients are happy to know that Europe has a country with Russian schools. Ameriks said that that was the first time he had ever heard this quote, adding that he and Šlesers had never discussed Russian schools in the past.

Ameriks testimony took about half an hour.

The so-called oligarchs case was launched in May 2011 in accordance with sections of the Criminal Law in regards to bribery, money laundering, abuse of official power and violation of restrictions established by law.

According to investigators, politician Ainārs Šlesers, interested in appointing Andris Ameriks as chairman of Riga Freeport, told Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs in October 2010 that Ameriks would secure him a beneficial contract between Riga Freeport and Mediju nams if he is appointed as head of the freeport.

Šlesers asked Lembergs to use his social status and illegally influence state officials, specifically deputy chairman of Riga Freeport Viesturs Silenieks so that he votes in favour of appointing Ameriks as chairman of the freeport during the meeting of 7 October 2010.

The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) assumed Lembergs did influence Silenieks in favour of making that decision.

The ‘oligarchs case’ was ended by the prosecutor’s office and KNAB in the end. In 2015, it became known that KNAB ended the criminal process for bribery against Andris Ameriks.


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  1. Zerry says:

    Everybody knows Ameriks’s strong influence in businesses in Riga. He should just focus on politics and not act like an oligarch himself. Q

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