Latvija in brief - 2007-08-08

  • 2007-08-08
National police arrested a man in the central Latvian county of Ogre on Aug. 3 for the attempted extortion of 250,000 lats (355,719 euros) from two businessmen. The 40-year-old man allegedly demanded 100,000 lats from each man, threatening to kill their wives and children if the sum was not paid. When one of the businessmen failed to meet his demands, he raised the amount to 150,000 lats. The man left more than 50 threatening messages on the telephones of his victims. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 12 years in jail.

The long-awaited apartment for former President Vaira Vike-Freiberga was finally completed on Aug. 6. The renovation was delayed for more than a month when significant damage was found in the attic of the apartment. The much-loved former president and her husband were briefly left homeless and had been staying in a spa/sanatorium while their new apartment was being renovated. The new apartment is above the residence of former President Guntis Ulmanis.

President Valdis Zatlers visited the Russian border on Aug. 3, taking the opportunity to inspect crossing points where long lines of trucks wait. Zatlers said that he was impressed with the work of the border guard, and that the lines were due to poor border cooperation between the two countries, citing the still unsettled border treaty as a major contributor to the problem. After a meeting with the president, border guard head Gunars Dabolins said that significant work was being done to expand the roads and crossing points to ease congestion at the border.

Police arrested six youths aged 17 - 21 for the distribution of 250 counterfeit 5 lat  bills on Aug. 7. The police tracked down the alleged perpetrators by analyzing video surveillance records at the Daugavpils stores where the false bills first appeared. The forged notes have reportedly been in circulation since early July. Experts who analysed the notes found them to be of extremely poor quality. They said that while the notes were similar in size and color to real ones, they did not have any of the security marks and were apparently printed using common ink jet printers. Police were able to recover 75 of the forged notes.