Lembergs pulls the strings

  • 2011-10-26
  • From wire reports

RIGA - Latvian businessman Julijs Krumins said he sold his business because he feared that the mayor of Ventspils, Aivars Lembergs, could be coming to power, reports Nozare.lv. In an interview in the monthly magazine Klubs, Krumins explains that he would not have sold Man-Tess Group if he had known the results of the elections.
“I feared that Lembergs could take the prime minister’s post. If that happened and if ever a [railway] wagon of mine toppled, there would be an immediate call to [the now former Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Raimonds] Vejonis, or to the environmentalists. Or he would send a financial inspection. That could have shut my business down in a minute,” said Krumins.

He feared Lembergs due to past incidents, when, “due to regular inspections and a few insignificant violations, the closing of my customs warehouse was possible.”
“I remember that once I said a few words to the media. And immediately there was a call: ‘Julij, we will have to send an inspection.’ I said no, and took my words back. Nowadays, everything is very politicized. You cannot develop a business without strong political backing,” said the businessman, adding that until the year 2000, his good relations with the then-powerful party Latvijas cels (Latvia’s Way) helped him in entrepreneurship.

Now Krumins feels satisfied, knowing the mounting misfortunes of the so-called oligarchs Lembergs, Ainars Slesers and Andris Skele. “They own several enterprises, properties, new projects, and money. All that has to be managed, invested, risks have to be evaluated. Continual work has to be invested in what they own. While Man-Tess belonged to me, eight to ten working hours per day often were not enough to manage the company. When do these people have time to think about state issues? They simply do not have the time to make well-considered decisions and work for their voters.”
In the interview, Kurmins also criticizes other politicians, saying that former PM’s Ivars Godmanis, Einars Repse and also Valdis Dombrovskis have caused much misfortune.

Krumins sold the Riga Port transit company Man-Tess to the Dutch company Alandam Capital last May.