Lembergs and Stepanovs take off gloves

  • 2010-10-20
  • From wire reports

RIGA - 50 percent of shares in the Ventspils Grain Terminal in Latvia have been sold to the Kazakh company “Grain Pool of Kazakhstan”, according to the community activists’ Web site Pietiek.lv, reports Nozare.lv.
According to the portal, the company LSF Holdings, which belongs entirely to businessman Olegs Stepanovs and the children of Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs (Union of Greens and Farmers), sold 50 percent of the terminal at the end of September, several days before the Saeima elections.

“The deal is connected with four agreed settlements in legal proceedings opened during the so-called Ventspils transit wars, through which Lembergs and Stepanovs battled for influence in the company,” reveals Pietiek.lv.
The amount of the deal, which should be completed in the coming days, has not been made public; however, the Web site indicates that it is likely to amount to more than 5 million lats.

“Although no changes in the ownership of the Ventspils Grain Terminal have been recorded in the Register of Enterprises, Pietiek.lv has learned from reliable sources that a Kazakh company has become the 100 percent owner through direct and indirect control. The fact that a deal has taken place is confirmed by changes in the Council of Ventspils Grain Terminal recorded in the Register of Enterprises on September 30, where new appointments were made from representatives of the Kazakh firm and an associated Swiss firm. Meanwhile, all council members representing the interests of ‘LSF holdings’ - Stepanovs, Valerijs Pastuta and Nikolajs Bastovojs - have lost their positions,” indicates the portal.

Pietiek.lv points out that the deal is of great significance, given the long-standing battle between Lembergs and Stepanovs.
“The fact of this deal also supports reports in the media during the summer that a truce had been called between Lembergs and his opponents, including Stepanovs. Moreover, Stepanovs’ influence is said to have helped smooth relations between the Lembergs-controlled Union of Greens and Farmers (ZZS) and Janis Urbanovics’ Harmony Center, with the latter possibly giving the ZZS a ‘helping hand’ in the Saeima rejection of Janis Maizitis’ reappointment as Prosecutor General,” the Web site reports.

Ventspils Grain Terminal is a specialised grain warehousing and transshipment port terminal with calculated annual handling capacities reaching 2,5 million tons. It began operations in autumn of 2005.