Latvija in brief - 2005-02-16

  • 2005-02-16
The Economy Police detained men charged with selling fake diplomas from the University of Latvia's Law school. The two men, Raimonds and his relative Andis were caught after a sting operation by the police. According to information, a diploma could be had for 150 lats (214 euros) up front, with 600 lats afterward. The two reportedly advertised on the Internet. Both face jail terms up to four years for forgery.

The marketing director for Aldaris, the country's largest brewery, was found killed on a highway over the weekend near the western city of Tukums. Laima Priedite was found with multiple stab wounds. Police suspect a robbery, but have also not ruled out a murder for personal reasons. Priedite, whose car was found not far from the scene, had been working as marketing director for only two months.

DVD Centrs was fined 25,000 lats and ordered to stop distribution of the animated film "The Triplets of Belleville" after a court found it had violated local copyright laws. The film studio Rija took DVD Centrs to court after they discovered they were distributing the film illegally. The film was nominated for an Oscar last year and gained recognition at the Cannes film festival. The judgment can be appealed within 20 days.

The National Radio and Television Council fined the First Baltic Channel 500 lats for violating the broadcast law by showing two Russian movies without Latvian subtitles, the Russian language newspaper Telegraf reported.

Lawyer Martins Kveps was arrested by the anti-corruption bureau for allegedly offering a 2,000 lat bribe. To whom, the bureau did not disclose. Kveps is a lawyer at the law firm Libereta Zverinatu Advokatu birojs Heidelberga. His co-worker, Arnis Nicgailis, told the LETA news agency that "Kveps is being punished for his audacity to stand up to the majority shareholders at the Latvian Shipping Company (LASCO)." Kveps had represented Olafs Berkis, a minority shareholder in the shipping company and Ventbunkers, who had condemned the recent emergency shareholders' meeting called by Ventspils Nafta.

Only 6 percent of the state's citizens trust local political parties, placing the country near the bottom of the EU, a recent poll conducted in member states and coordinated by the European Commission showed. Only Poland came in with less support for parties at five percent. Trust in political parties across the continent was however low at on average 17 percent.