Second business person shot in one week

  • 2008-01-16
  • By Talis Saule Archdeacon
RIGA - The chief executive of two meatpacking plants was shot and killed outside his home on Jan. 10, the second murder of a high-profile business person in Latvia in less than a week.
Aigars Lusis, CEO of Jelgavas Galas Kombinats and Cesu Galas Kombinats was killed in Garkalne. The 26 year-old businessman was shot six times at 9:37 p.m. 
His mother called in the killing at approximately 1 a.m., police said.
Interior Minister Mareks Seglins told journalists the next day that he believed the murder could have been a contract killing.

"Residents must not believe that somebody may kill as they wish," the minister said.
When The Baltic Times went to press, there were still no suspects in the case.
National Police chief Aldis Lieljuksis revealed that Lusis had felt his life was in danger prior to the murder.
"Lusis felt the threat in advance," he told Latvian public radio on Jan 14.
"I would like to urge people 's including businessmen 's if they perceive that they are in danger to apply to the police, not to seek some other possibilities to protect themselves," Lieljuksis said.
He assured journalists on Jan. 11 that it was purely coincidence that the murders both took place in Garkalne.
Lusis' death, along with the murder of prominent Latvian businesswoman Ella Ivanova three days earlier, has sparked a media frenzy with wild speculation over possible motives for the crimes.

Friends and relatives of the murdered businessman, however, released a statement on Jan. 13 decrying many of the media reports.
"We would like to say that mass media has provided incorrect and inaccurate coverage of the event and untrue assumptions concerning reasons and consequences of the tragedy," the announcement read.
All the businesses headed by Lusis would continue normal operations, and future plans for the companies would not be changed, the statement said.
Meanwhile, police are still hard at work uncovering the motives behind the Jan. 7 murder of Ivanova.

One daily wrote Jan. 15 that police had taken the first statements from Ivanova's husband, Igors Ivanovs, who cut a trip to Moscow short upon hearing of the murder.
The "De Facto" public television news program reported on Jan. 13 that police were considering Ivanova's love affair with Ojars Grasmanis as a possible motive.
Lieljuksis did not deny that the affair could have been a possible motive, saying only that the police are investigating a number of different possibilities.
The two deaths, along with two other possible business-related murders at the end of 2007, have prompted some local media outlets to point out that the murders are reminiscent of the situation in the 90s, when those sorts of killings were commonplace. The National Police press office said, however, that the situation today is completely different and that it is still safe to do legitimate business in Latvia.

"Of course, there were murders last year…but we cannot put them in the same basket and say that the '90s are coming back. Then it was totally different 's business relations were totally different. [Today] if you do legal business, then there shouldn't be any problems," a police spokeswoman said.
In his interview with Latvian Public Radio, Lieljuksis said the cooling economy could result in even more business-related crime over the coming year.
"The economy will slow down. We should be ready for that... We expect the situation to be more complicated," he said.