Ventbunkers sues Ventspils Nafta for $90 mln

  • 2008-01-09
  • From wire reports

Ventspils Nafta chairwoman Petersone is one of several plaintiffs in the suit.

RIGA - A claim has been filed at the Riga Regional Court, asking to sequester $90 million from officials of Ventspils Nafta multi-business group and Latvijas Kugnieciba (Lasco) shipping company.
Riga Regional Court spokeswoman Evita Naglinska said that the lawsuit was filed on Jan. 2 in the name of Ventspils Nafta by its shareholder Latvijas Naftas Tranzits.

The suit was likely filed by Ventbunkers, a co-owner of LNT and a bitter rival to the Ventspils Nafta business group associated with Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs, who is now under house arrest awaiting trial.
A court official said that the claim has been filed against a group of individuals, including Ventspils Nafta Chairwoman Olga Petersone and former Prime Minister Maris Gailis.
Ventspils Nafta's largest owners are Vitol Group, an international oil trading firm based in Switzerland, and LNT. In 2006 Vitol Group bought a stake in Ventspils Nafta from the state, and later it also acquired a 49 percent stake in VNT.

Ventbunkers, in the meantime, has been sidelined, and last March the firm contested in court the Competition Council's decision to allow Vitol Group's subsidiary Euromin Holdings, registered in Cyprus, to purchase the stake in VNT. The administrative district court plans to hear the case in November.
In 2006 Ventbunkers handled 9.3 million tons of oil and oil products in Ventspils, or about 60 percent of all oil and oil product-related cargo in the port.