Latvija in brief - 2010-07-22

  • 2010-07-21

The Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) will request the Prosecutor General’s Office to evaluate the actions of Parex bank’s former shareholders, Valerijs Kargins and Viktors Krasovickis, including verifying the origin of their subordinated capital, FCMC spokeswoman Anna Dravniece said, reports She emphasized that the Prosecutor’s Office will now decide whether to move forward with the investigation. Kargins and Krasovickis, as well as their family members, have previously said that they have invested approximately 36 million lats’ (51.4 million euros) worth of subordinated capital into Parex. FCMC deputy chairman Janis Brazovskis previously stated that the bank’s former owners and their family members receive 4.9 million lats in monthly interest payments from Parex, after the Latvian government stepped in to save it from collapse in 2008, at the cost of hundreds of millions of euros to the taxpayers.

In the wake of the massive data leak from the State Revenue Service’s Electronic Declaration System (EDS), three officials in the Information Management Department - department head Iveta Bertulsone and deputies Viesturs Skils and Juris Stumps - have been hit with administrative penalties: salary reductions of 20 percent, reports LETA. Bertulsone will be paid 20 percent lower salary for six months, whereas the salaries for Skils and Stumps will be reduced for three months. The three were penalized for not ensuring quality administration, testing, monitoring and analysis of the EDS, as a result 7,483,140 XML files were illegally downloaded from the EDS from Oct. 29, 2009 to Feb. 3 this year. The person who downloaded these files, computer expert Ivars Poikans, known popularly as Neo, wrote on his Twitter account asking if other institutions and persons who had failed to ensure the safety of the EDS would also be punished.

The State Fire and Rescue Service report that 92 people have drowned in Latvia’s waters as of mid-July, which is almost as many as in all of 2009, reports LETA. These are only the registered cases of persons who have drowned, and it is likely that the actual number is even greater, says Interior Ministry spokeswoman Viktorija Sembele. As the heat waves continues and residents are seeking to cool off in lakes, rivers and the sea, the Rescue Service is urging everyone to use caution and avoid swimming in unsafe locations. State Fire and Rescue Service Chief Ainars Pencis called the situation “critical and highly alarming. It’s like a war zone out there. Pencis added that there are no specific hazardous swimming locations, as people have died all across Latvia. Most of the victims were young, and the tragedies often occurred due to recklessness, and in some cases, alcohol use.