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Sunday 19.01.2020 | Name days: Alnis, Andulis
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Turn in high-profile court saga: Ventspils mayor receives state lawyer

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

The mayor of the Latvian port city Ventspils, Aivars Lembergs (For Latvia and Ventspils), who is charged with serious crimes and has been suspended from office, has been appointed a state lawyer in the long court process that has had many delays.

In the Riga Regional Court, judge Irīna Jansone stated the development via the spokespersons of the court, where, according to the accused, court hearings in the case are scheduled for four days a week.

According to Jansone, the Riga District Court received on August 21 a submission by Lembergs to inform the court about him having an agreement with a new lawyer, who was currently on vacation and who would be too busy to participate in the hearings that have been planned for September.

Judge Jansone also stated that the submission lacked a lawyer’s order that would confirm the rights of the lawyer to defend the accused in the criminal proceedings.

Consequently, the Riga District Court turned on Wednesday, August 21, to the chief sworn lawyer of the Riga court district and now a lawyer provided by the state has been appointed to Lembergs.

The accused has been informed about this and the next hearing in the criminal case is scheduled for the morning of August 26.

Aivars Lembergs, in turn, wrote on Twitter on Thursday, August 22, that he had informed the court about the lawyer in the court proceedings. «I hope it will allow [the lawyer] to work,» the accused wrote.

Reportedly, on 25 June, the lawyer of Lembergs, Raimonds Krastiņš unexpectedly announced his decision cease lawyering. Lembergs has two more lawyers to depend on, but the scandalous politician has said that they cannot take on responsibilities of the third lawyer because all three of them took charge over specific aspects of the case.

Lembergs says he will look for a new lawyer. Once a replacement has been found they will need time to go through the case and listen to at least part of audio recordings from previous court sessions, says Lembergs.

The side of the prosecution believes Krastiņš did much to delay proceedings and now that he’s gone the process may be delayed even more.

Because of the lawyer’s decision, this week’s court proceedings in Lembergs’ criminal case have been cancelled. The politician is given time until 19 August to find a new lawyer.

The so-called Lembergs criminal case has entered its final stage – the prosecution has read charges in legal debates. Lembergs’ defence is in the process of explaining their position to the court.

Prosecutors asked to court to sentence Lembergs to eight years of prison with confiscation of property, as well as a fine of EUR 64 500.

Prosecutors commenced legal debates in February 2018 and concluded the speech in March 2019.

The prosecutor’s office accuses Lembergs of bribery in especially large volumes, money laundering, forgery of official status, participation in monetary deals he is not allowed to take part in due to his official status, as well as abuse of official power and other crimes. Anrijs Lembergs and Ansis Sormulis are also among the accused in this criminal case.

The prosecutor’s office has requested sentencing Anrijs Lembergs to a prison sentence of five years and six months with confiscation of property, whereas the requested sentence for Sormulis is seven years in prison with confiscation of property, as explained by prosecutor Juris Juriss.

All three of the accused deny their guilt.


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