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Ceturtdiena 17.10.2019 | Name days: Karīna, Gaits
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Shadow of political dealings over SRS. ZZS people – Knoks, Podiņš, Vaivars

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Māris Knoks (L), Andrejs Vaivars (M) and Kaspars Podiņš (R)

Elizabete Mežule and Simona Šjadīte for BNN

Although the State Revenue Service has never had a truly spotless reputation, there is now a much bigger and darker shadow hovering over the service’s director general Ieva Jaunzeme. Serious concerns have been voiced in regards to possible employment of «chosen people» in important posts, which allows them to either halt or push criminal processes forward in order to make life difficult for their political opponents, pretending to fight the good fight while, in reality, realizing some «political hit».

BNN outlines people from the Union of Greens and Farmers (ZZS) political party that have «taken roost» in important posts in SRS as lawyers, tax and customs office, as well as the director general’s right hand.

«Dana’s friend» and lawyer Knoks who migrates from post to post

When Dace Cīrule was in charge of SRS, then the Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola had appointed Māris Knoks as the SRS director’s consultant for legal affairs. For a long time Knoks was considered Reizniece-Ozola’s trusted person in SRS. Outcome of important administrative affairs depended on him.

Although Knoks has been pushed down to SRS Human Resource Management Office, it does not seem like his influence has reduced all that much. According to unofficial sources, Knoks continues taking part in meetings of the disciplinary committee. This means he is able to influence the committee’s decisions as to which perpetrators are penalized and which are not.

It is worth mentioning that Knoks was also once responsible for accounts blocked by SRS and left forgotten for years. Only one official was punished for this. This person’s currently occupied post is second vice-director in SRS Tax and Customs Office, which is led by Kaspars Podiņš.

Then the vice-director of SRS Finance Police Office Dairis Aniņš was found guilty of keeping the company’s finances frozen for years. When the case came to light, Edijs Ceipe was chief of Finance Police. He had commenced an inspection of the number of such accounts, but no action followed.

Knoks only launched a disciplinary case even though a criminal process for negligence and exceeding official power was requested. Only Aniņš was penalized in the disciplinary case.

Wedding and posts – friendship between Augulis and Podiņš

Podiņš’s friendship with ZZS representative and ex-Transport Minister of Latvia Uldis Augulis is strong – one was present at the other’s wedding. While they both share a strong friendship and festivities, Podiņš, meanwhile, is accused by his subordinates of committing serious crimes. According to information available to BNN, he is accused of attempts to fulfil «political requests». It is reported that he as director «performed different political orders, impeding ongoing criminal processes and punishing employees who disobeyed him,» the letter submitted by SRS employees to SRS director general Ieva Jaunzeme mentions.

«Every day we have to face his double standards and fact distortion. On top of that, without any shame whatsoever, SRS Tax and Customs Police are used to perform political orders.»

The letter also mentions that more and more often the press voices concerns about political involvement of state law enforcement institutions and their use in political score-settling. Jaunzeme also received some blame – instead of acting, she is accused of saving her own skin, so to speak.

BNN is still trying to determine which political party’s orders Podiņš is following and whether or not his close friendship with an influential man from ZZS is only a coincidence.

From Kučinskis to Jaunzeme – communicator Vaivars

Andrejs Vaivars sits on one of the most influential posts in SRS.

In the past he had worked as then the Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis’ chief secretary and in so-called Aivars Lembergs’ controlled media as journalist. Now this person is Jaunzeme’s right hand – consultant for communication and public relations affairs.

There are suspicions that his ties with ZZS have not reduced at all. Vaivars is one of the people ZZS can potential use as a source of information for the good and bad sides of developments at SRS. In a conversation with BNN Jaunzeme mentioned that she picked Vaivars because he is an ex-journalist and that they have a history of cooperation across all of her previous posts.


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