• 2009-04-15
If my experience is anything to go by, I don't know why anyone would invest money in Latvia.
Seven years ago, I loaned one of my Latvian tenants 15,000 pounds so he could buy a flat for him and his family in Riga. I drew up a legal agreement (signed by him and his wife), which stated that the flat would remain in my name until the loan was repaid.

He bought the flat his wife and son moved in, but he put it in his wife's name. He never repaid me a penny of the loan. I had to start court proceedings against him and his wife five years ago and they have used the Latvian legal system to delay proceedings in what should be a simple case.

On one occasion, the defendants did not turn up in court, incredibly, the case was adjourned to another date. In England if a defendant does not turn up at court, it is a criminal offense. The wife claimed her signature was forged, so the case was adjourned again. I proved it was her signature, so she then claimed that she signed without understanding what she signed. I have spent thousands of pounds in legal fees, but under Latvian law, the defendants will not be liable for my legal expenses, even if they lose. The defendant did not turn up in court [recently], because she has maternity leave.

I have written to the Latvian courts, Latvian Ministry of Justice and the Latvian Embassy here in London, but they have simply replied with platitudes. I hope to get more publicity for my case here in London, so I can warn potential investors about the dangers of investing in Latvia.

Fergus Dodd
London, England


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