Latviski English По-русски
Wednesday 08.04.2020 | Name days: Dana, Dans, Danute, Edgars

USA: de-listing of Ventspils Freeport was possible thanks to Latvian government’s active work

(No Ratings Yet)

Ventspils Freeport, Aivars Lembergs, corruption, sanctions, OFACThe sanctions US Department of the Treasury Office for Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) were lifted after the suspended Mayor of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs, who is also accused of committing serious crimes, stepped down from the freeport’s board and the Latvian government performed actions to end his influence there, according to the latest press-release of the US Department of the Treasury.

After Lembergs and Ventspils Freeport were listed among entities under sanctions, Latvia’s government adopted regulations that basically put an end to Lembergs’ control over Ventspils Freeport authority. In accordance with new regulations, four Latvian government representatives were appointed to supervise the port, as the press-release from US Department of the Treasury details.

Lembergs stepped down from Ventspils Freeport authority on 10 December, which is on the next day after being added to the black list, the department outlines.

«The U.S. applauds the Latvian government’s swift response to Lembergs’ designation.  This de-listing of the Ventspils Freeport Authority underscores our commitment to work closely with our partners to combat corruption,»

stresses Deputy Secretary Justin Muzinich.

As previously reported, on Wednesday, 18 December, OFAC removed sanctions imposed on Ventspils Freeport and Ventspils Freeport authority.

This decision was made by USA after intensive talks with Latvia’s embassy in USA, Foreign Affairs Ministry and other institutions and after surveying Latvia’s performed and planned actions aimed at preventing the influence of blacklisted entities over Ventspils Freeport and Ventspils Freeport authority.

«This means Ventspils Freeport authority, Ventspils Freeport and companies active at the port are able to continue operations unhindered,» says Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Read also: Freeport authority: Ventspils port has returned to operating normally

At the same time, OFAC has not removed sanctions against Lembergs, Ventspils Development Agency, Business Development Association and Latvian Transit Association.

On 9 December, US Department of Treasury Office for Foreign Asset Control used the so-called Magnitsky Law to impose sanctions on the suspended Mayor of Ventsils Aivars Lembergs, who is accused of committing serious crimes, and four legal persons associated with him – Ventspils Freeport authority, Ventspils Development Agency, Business Development Association and Latvian Transit Business Association.

On Wednesday, 18 December, Ventspils Freeport authority was excluded from the list of OFAC sanctions.

After 8 January, 2020, no financial operations with legal persons under sanctions will be possible, because banks will not service them any longer. Lembergs will be able to maintain one account to use for transactions needed to cover basic needs (receive pension, pay taxes and duties, purchase food, pay for rent or mortgage, public utilities, etc.).

Sanctions also apply to companies controlled by Lembergs or companies in which he is listed as beneficial owner.

State institutions and lawyers recommend avoiding working with persons and organizations included on the list of sanctions. Cooperation with persons under sanctions puts participants at risks of secondary sanctions or other forms of limitations.

In response to Ventspils Freeport’s addition to the list of sanctions, Latvia’s Saeima amended laws to put both Riga Freeport and Ventspils Freeport under state management. On 17 December the government supported Transport Ministry’s proposal to create a new state company to manage Ventspils port’s territory and operations.

On the next morning after removal of sanctions for Ventspils Freeport, Latvian Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits told Latvijas Radio reported that the decision regarding the cancellation or continuation of the foundation process of Ventas osta state company will be made after studying the reasons behind OFAC decision.

«It is logical to believe that such a structure is no longer needed, but first we want to know what considerations went into the foundation for the US side’s decision [to lift sanctions from Ventspils Freeport authority], so that we avoid a situation when we cancel something that served as the main reason why OFAC made its decision,» said Linkaits.

Leave a reply

Criminal process launched against Aivars Lembergs for defamation

On 7 April 2020 State Police Kurzeme RP Saldus Department’s Criminal Police Office commenced a criminal process against Aivars Lembergs for untrue statements and claims he has used on multiple occasions during meetings of Ventspils City Council and Finance Committee against city council deputy Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis, as BNN was told by Kristovskis.

Latvia’s Prime Minister: we are financially well-situated in this crisis

We are financially well-situated in this crisis, said Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to LTV programme Rīta panorama.

Latvian government supports dismissal of State Land Service’s director general

Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers has supported Justice Ministry’s prepared decision project that details the dismissal of the State Land Service director general Solvitai Zvidriņa from her post, as confirmed by Justice Ministry.

China lifts lockdown in Wuhan

In the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the global pandemic of COVID-19 began, a lockdown has been lifted for the first time since January, British news portal The Guardian reports.

Support in Latvia for COVID-19 crisis prevention reaches four billion euros

The volume of support available in Latvia to finance preventive measures to overcome COVID-19 crisis has reached four billion euros, as reported by Latvian Finance Minister Jānis Reirs on Tuesday, 7 April.

Another month stuck home. Latvian government extends state of emergency

The state of emergency declared in Latvia because of COVID-19 pandemic has been extended until 12 May, as confirmed by Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs on social media on 7 April.

75 reports on competition distortions reported to Competition Council in 2019

Last year, the Competition Council received a total of 75 reports related to competition distortions caused by public persons, according to information listed in the latest public account for the institution’s more significant accomplishments in 2019 and developments in competition rights enforcement in Latvia.

Australia quashes child abuse convictions against cardinal Pell

A court in Australia has overturned child sex abuse convictions against cardinal George Pell after he was found guilty and received a prison term, British news portal The Guardian reports.

Education and Science Ministry considers not cancelling centralized exams

Latvia’s Education and Science Ministry considers the option to not cancel centralized exams, especially for 12th graders, as reported on Tuesday, 7 April, by Education Minister Ilga Šuplinska during a meeting with Saeima’s Education, Culture and Science Committee.

Estonian government in two minds on cutting public spending to help economy

Should public spending be cut to help restore the economy? Two of the three parties in the Estonian government have opposing views on this as economic recovery is increasingly discussed, Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports.

Riga International Airport plans to lay off 500 employees

Because of consequences caused by COVID-19, Riga International Airport plans to lay off 500 employees, as BNN was informed by the company.

Poland planning to hold presidential election as postal ballot

The Polish presidential election in May should be held as a postal ballot, the country’s legislators have decided. Opponents of the idea argue that this means putting public health at risk, British-Canadian news agency Reuters reports.

COVID-19 update in Baltics. 548 infected in Latvia, 880 in Lithuania, 1 149 in Estonia

The total number of confirmed coronavirus COVID-19 infection cases in Latvia has reached 548, increasing by six in the past day.

Latvian president urges not to sort idleness benefit recipients based on tax debts

When assessing whether or not a company meets requirements for idleness benefit eligibility, Latvia’s President Egils Levits urges the government to not sort them based on tax debts.

British PM Johnson treated from COVID-19 in intensive care

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to intensive care in London with his COVID-19 symptoms worsening as the outbreak is claiming more lives in the United Kingdom, British news portal The Guardian reports.

Riga City Council snap elections pushed back to 5 September

The ruling coalition in Latvia has agreed to push back Riga City Council snap elections to 5 September, as journalists were told by politicians after a meeting of ruling parties on Monday, 6 April.

US death toll of COVID-19 nears 11 000

The US, which is the country with the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 infections, has on Tuesday, April 7, reached a total number of COVID-19-related deaths of 10 986, according to the US John Hopkins University and German public broadcaster DW.

Prime Minister says Latvia will neither enhance nor relieve restrictions

We do not plan to enhance restrictive measures, but neither do we plan to relieve restrictions – the storm is not over. Nevertheless, we are on the correct path, said Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Spanish coronavirus death toll drops for fourth day in a row

In Spain, for the fourth day a row, the number of COVID-19 related deaths per day has decreased as the country has the most confirmed cases in infection in Europa, BBC reports.

Recovery from COVID-19 confirmed for 16 people in Latvia

So far 16 people in Latvia have made a successful recovery from COVID-19, as reported by Latvian Disease Prevention and Monitoring Centre (SPKC) Infectious Diseases Risk Analysis and Prevention Department director Jurijs Perevoščikovs at a press-conference on Monday, 6 April.

Kilometre-long freight train from China to pass through Latvia this week

This week a freight train pulling 100 containers forming a kilometre-long chain will pass through Latvia on its way from China to Kaliningrad Oblast, as BNN was told by Latvian Railway.

Design work commences across the entire Rail Baltica route in Latvia

Rail Baltica project management joint company RB Rail has signed two contracts on behalf of Latvia’s Transport Ministry for design and design supervision services on the remaining sections of Rail Baltica route in Latvia, as BNN was informed by the company.

Meduza: Head of Russian doctors’ organisation arrested during delivery of protective equipment to hospitals

The chairwoman of the Russian Doctors’ Alliance has been hit after being arrested by police as she was in a group of activists trying to deliver personal protection equipment to hospitals in the Novgorod region of Russia, Meduza news portal reports.

NEPLP wants 1.6 million euros for media to overcome COVID-19 crisis in Latvia

The National Electronic Mass Media Council has prepared historically the largest state support programme for electronic TV and radio to ensure uninterrupted production of domestic content and broadcasts during COVID-19 crisis. The volume of support is estimated at 1.6 million euros, as reported by NEPLP.

Estonian top virologist: Peak of COVID-19 will be flattened out

Estonian virologist Irja Lutsar, who is part of the Estonian government’s working group of COVID-19 has forecast that the peak point of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Estonia will be long, Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!