Power struggle erupts again in Ventspils

  • 2010-04-01
  • From wire reports

RIGA - Following a March 23 raid by State Police officers at the Ventspils office of the transit company Ventbunkers, four security guards ended up in the hospital, reported news agency LETA. Aleksandrs Niklass, spokesman for Ventspils Nafta (Ventspils Oil, VN) council member Olegs Stepanovs, reported that the security guards had been beaten, one was suffering from a concussion, and another had a broken jaw.

According to Niklass, police officers only left the company’s office late in the evening. “The State Police have not provided any explanation of what they were doing there,” said Niklass, indicating that the company’s board and shareholders were requesting the Interior Ministry to immediately begin an investigation.

On the morning of March 24, company management noticed that several documents had disappeared connected with company operations. The State Police are yet to clarify the exact nature of the operation, but according to the security guards, the police were accompanied by Mihails Dementjevs and Alvis Haze.
Niklass said that these persons “claim to be members of the Ventbunkers board,” although law enforcement authorities have launched a criminal process and applied restrictions against the two. The State Police have started an internal investigation into the raid.

This highlights that another power struggle is under way at Ventspils’ transit companies.
A new supervisory council was elected to Ventspils Oil at an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting on Jan. 20. Six council members representing the international corporation Vitol Group, and five members for Latvijas Naftas tranzits” (LNT), assumed their roles.

This election marked, for the first time since opponents of Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs came to power at LNT in 2007, the majority of VN council members being made up of his opponents.
VN shareholders also adopted a resolution on fixing a joint remuneration fund of 5,500 lats (7,860 euros) per month for the newly elected VN council. The new VN council was elected for a period of three years.
In the first nine months of 2009, VN posted 700,000 lats in profit. VN is the central holding company in a transit-oriented group. VN Group is working in transshipment of crude oil and petroleum products, transport of crude oil and petroleum products by pipelines and shipping.