bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Wednesday 16.01.2019 | Name days: Lida, Lidija
LatviaLatvia

Vitol Group concerned over state of rule of law in Latvia; turns to state officials

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOne of the largest energy resource traders in the world – Vitol Group – has sent a letter to Latvia’s highest ranking officials, expressing deep concern over the rule of law and application of legislative acts in the litigation between LatRosTrans and Polocktransneft Druzba over the EUR 66 million worth technological oil.

Vitol Group indirectly owns 66% of LatRosTrans shares.

As BNN was told by the company’s representatives, in its letter to Latvia’s state officials, Vitol Group asked them to secure competent, professional and transparent review of this litigation in the court justice system of the Republic of Latvia to prevent violations of investment protection principles, as well as possible threats to national security.

«Following the restoration of Latvia’s independence, both the pipeline and the technological oil that was contained there on Latvia’s territory became state property in accordance with legislation of the Republic of Latvia. After the foundation of LatRosTrans, legislation stated that these assets are part of the company’s capital as its property. When Latgale Regional Court was making its decision regarding the ownership of this oil, the judge did not take into account the decision made by the Supreme Council, which stated that all businesses and civilian objects that were formally owned by USSR in the past and were registered or located on territory of the Republic of Latvia became state property if international agreements did not decide otherwise. Instead, when making its decision, the court referenced entries from the company’s accounting balance entries left from USSR,» said Vitol Group representative and LatRosTrans council chairman Robert Kirkup.

Vitol group believes Latgale RegionalCourt has ignored Latvia’s legislation by making interior, former USSR documents as a priority. On top of that, Latgale Regional Court has not taken into account documents submitted by Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and Saeima Legal Affairs Office, which conform that the oil pipeline is located on Latvia’s territory and the oil contained in it is to be considered Latvia’s property, considering that the country has not voiced any intentions to transfer this asset to a different owner.

LatRosTrans has decided to appeal the ruling of Latgale Regional Court. Vitol group expects the Supreme Court to pay more attention to this case.

«If the ruling of Latgale Regional Court comes to force, it will create a legal precedent that could allow third parties to exact control over assets important to the country’s independence, security and economic welfare, such as Inčukalns underground gas storage facility, AS Sadales tīkls infrastructure, Daugava hydro-electric dam and infrastructure associated with it. Inability to review this case using all the evidence could result in assets important to state economy’s independence and security to be handed to another country. In this case – Belarus,» says Vitol Group representative Robert Kirkup.

Vitol Group has sent a letter to Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis, Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens, Justice Minister Dzintars Rasnačs, Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs and Saeima National Security Committee chairperson Inese Lībiņa-Egnere.

BNN had previously reported that Latgale Regional Court has decided to enforce from SIA LatRosTrans in favour of AS Polocktransneft Družba EUR 66,744,966 in relation to the illegal pumping and selling of the plaintiff’s owned oil.

In addition, the court has decided to enforce from SIA LatRosTrans state fee of EUR 66,883 and legal costs – EUR 49,800.

As previously mentioned by Vitol Baltics board chairman Robert Kirkup, the court’s ruling in this case will be important for the company and the matter of ownership over assets left from the Soviet Union in Latvia.

«I must say I am greatly disappointed that this case was submitted for repeated hearing. It is a very important case for Latvia because it is not just about us. This is also about just how much businesses can rely on assets left from the former Soviet Union. Even without knowing the outcome of the litigation, it will turn out important for our and other companies’ stability in Latvia,» said Kirkup, adding that otherwise someone else will come and declare ownership.

«We are looking at documents that are 25 to 27 years old and even older. But in the end this is about whether or not assets that were located on Latvia’s territory at the time of restoration of independence belong to Latvia. If you question that, then you question everything people own here. I do hope healthy reason will prevail in the end and we will be able to speak of this case in positive tones,» said Kirkup.

It was previously reported that Polocktransneft Družba submitted a plea to court, saying that technological oil that was contained in the pipeline owned by LatRosTrans is to be considered the plaintiff’s property. Initially the plaintiff wanted the court to recognize their property rights and prohibit LatRosTrans to use technological oil (109,996 tonnes) contained in LatRosTrans pipelines spanning Polotsk-Ventspils and Polotsk-Birzi-Mazeika, as well as pumping stations Skrudaliena 1, Skrudaliena 2, Džūkste and Ventspils pipeline.

In the appeal, the plaintiff asked the court to enforce from LatRosTrans the value of 109,996 tonnes of oil of EUR 65,879,771 and losses worth EUR 18,553,716 in relation to pumped out oil volume.

On 9 December 2011, Latgale Regional Court rejected the plea and partially satisfied LatRosTrans plea regarding additional ruling and made it a duty for Polocktransneft Družba to compensate the defendant associated costs of EUR 103,870.

After reviewing the case in an appeal order, Supreme Court’s Civil Cases Chamber declined the plea on 23 October 2013.


Leave a reply

Is polygamy the answer for Latvia? «Demographic affairs expert» Parādnieks is the man for the job!

The government formation process in Latvia is progressing slowly and painfully. It is as though a ship without navigation – Latvia has yet to find its way in the ocean of political roads. And this ocean I full of «icebergs» Latvia keeps bumping against. The latest one is National Alliance’s official candidate, an «expert» at resolving demographic problems Imants Parādnieks.

Latvian government approves unified requirements for road and street construction quality

On Tuesday, 15 January, Latvian government approved a project of rules from the Cabinet of Ministers. The goal of this project is ensuring rational use of public funds for road and street construction.

Strike in German airports cancels hundreds of flights

Several hundred flights have been cancelled in German airports on January 15, because of strike as part of an airport worker wage dispute. Germany's powerful Verdi union has announced the strike would last from 02:00 am until 8:00 pm local time at the airports of Frankfurt, Munich, Hanover, Bremen, Hamburg, Leipzig, Dresden and Erfurt.

Saeima proposes applying labour protection requirements for topical employment trends

Considering the emergence of new forms of employment, when work is often performed remotely outside company premises, it is necessary to adapt labour protection requirements.

Opinion: final decision for next Daugavpils mayoral candidate is not yet made

Although on Thursday, 17 January, Daugavpils City Council plans to elect a new mayor and Andrejs Elksniņš is mentioned among the candidates, the final decision has yet to be made, claims former mayor Rihards Eigims, who was dismissed in November.

Tallinn Port sees record passenger number of 10.6 million

Estonia's largest passenger port in Tallinn has registered 11th year of growth in passenger numbers as the year 2018 has ended with a total of 10.6 million passengers.

Additional funding requested for continuation of publication of KGB files

Constitution Protection Bureau’s Centre for the Documentation of the Consequences of Totalitarianism requests additional funding of EUR 51,976 to continue financing the digitization of remaining KGB files before 30 April.

Latvian authorities announce influenza epidemic in the country

Last week, the number of patients with flu in Valmiera reached the threshold of an epidemic – 163.6 cases per 100,000 residents. With that, 15 January was declared the beginning of an influenza epidemic in Latvia, BNN was told by Disease Prevention and Control Centre.

Government declaration proposals may cost Latvia EUR 600 million this year

If all proposals submitted for the government declaration were to be implemented this year, it would require an additional amount of EUR 660 million, prime minister candidate Krišjānis Kariņš told journalists.

Stabbed Polish mayor dies

In Poland, the long-time mayor of Gdańsk Paweł Adamowicz has died after doctors were unable to save him following a knife attack during a charity event.

Police: cocaine shipment from Ecuador was not meant for Latvian market

The shipment of cocaine sent from Ecuador and intercepted in Koknese was likely not meant for Latvian market, says Chief of State Police Main Criminal Police Department Andrejs Grišins.

Forming government in Latvia may develop new Local Governments Law

Prime minister candidate Krišjāņis Kariņš’s formed government could develop a new Local Government Law, according to information compiled for government declaration ideas from members of the work group.

«Osinovskis’ million» case: Elksniņš requested money «for KNAB»

Several years ago there was a scandal caused by the announcement made by the now former investigator of Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) and now Saeima deputy Juris Jurašs that he was offered a two million euros bribe in the LDz corruption case.

Businessman Martinsons’ fast loan company’s paid interest compost most of Ameriks’ income

A month ago, Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau performed 30 searches and detained 7 people as part of an investigation of possible corruptive activities at Rīgas satiksme. Among those people is Honour to Serve Riga political party member Aleksandrs Krjačeks.

Bank: this year’s priority will be restoring finance sector’s reputation

This year’s priority will be ensuring sustainable development and restoration of the finance sector’s reputation, says chairman of Baltic International Bank Viktors Bolbats.

Weather in Latvia to be chilly and windy this week

Weather will be volatile in Latvia this week – a reasonable amount of thaw along with chilly air is expected. Latvia’s State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre predicts strong wind and plenty of precipitation.

Week in Lithuania. Ruling LFGU initiates referendum to reduce number of MPs

Members of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union will collect signatures for a referendum to reduce the size of the parliament.

BNN summary of the week: Latvian government’s plan; minister vs. mayor; politologist in the parliament?

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Government; Conflict; Announcement; Proposal; Support; Opinion; Fight.

New Unity’s candidate to offer partners to sign Fiscal Pact

New Unity’s prime minister candidate Krišjānis Kariņš intends to offer partners of the government to sign a Fiscal Pact, which, among other things, proposes not supporting raising or introducing any new taxes this year.

Latvia’s forming government’s priorities include minimal wages and schools

Among the priorities of Latvia’s forming government is the administrative territorial reform, strengthening of the national economy, reformation in education and healthcare, «uncompromised rule of law», state security, cooperation with diaspora and demography, according to information LETA.

Inflation in Latvia reached 2.6% in December 2018

Compared to December 2017, the average level of consumer prices rose by 2.6 % in December 2018. Prices of goods increased by 2.3 % and prices of services by 3.1 %. Compared to 2015, in December 2018 consumer prices were 6.4 % higher.

Orbán seeks anti-immigration sentiment dominance in EU institutions

Hungary' s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has stated the his country's goal was to have «anti-immigration forces» in the majority in every European Union institution as the spring European Parliament election nears.

Delays with state budget may put at risk EP elections in Latvia

Delays with approval of the country’s state budget could put at risk residents’ ability to vote in upcoming European Parliament elections at any election site, Diena reports with reference to concerns voiced by Central Election Commission’s chairman Arnis Cimdars.

Opinion: no amount of speculation will make electrification project cost-effective

«For people working in the industry it is hard to spot even the slightest benefits of the electrification project and we believe there is no logic to back this mega project’s future development. Especially considering existing excessive project costs and the costs created by the need for locomotive replacement and that increased costs will make cargo freight in Riga’s direction all the more expensive. No amount of speculations regarding electricity and diesel fuel fluctuations will make this project cost-effective,» says AS Baltic Express board chairman Māris Bremze.

UK pledges large investment in Northern Ireland before decisive Brexit vote

London has pledged hundreds of millions of pounds in funds to uphold peace and welfare in Northern Ireland after Brexit, as British MPs are expected to deny their support to the withdrawal deal.