Scandal surrounds new Saeima member

  • 2011-11-03
  • From wire reports

Rihards Kozlovskis can’t explain where money comes from.

RIGA - Latvia’s new interior minister, Zatlers Reform Party (ZRP) board member Rihards Kozlovskis, has major business liabilities, the TV3 show ‘Neka personiga’ (Nothing Personal) reported on Oct. 30. Kozlovskis owns a 26.24 percent stake in the company BBF Consulting, which owns the Days Hotel located on Brivibas Street in Riga opposite the VEF building. The hotel has been put up as a security for a loan of 4.1 million euros from DnB Nord bank.
The broadcast says it is unclear how the minister will be able to settle his debts, given that his pre-election declaration said he had no savings and no other properties - only debts.

Before becoming a businessman, Kozlovskis worked in various jobs in the State Police, Security Police and the Defense Ministry. Kozlovskis says that, after working at rather underpaid jobs, he was able to get a property worth millions of euros thanks to his wife’s money, which is “perfectly legal.” Kozlovskis, though, has not provided any information yet as to where his wife got this money from, the broadcast said.

The new minister pledges to explain his business situation to the general public in the near future, and to make sure that internal affairs of the state cannot be affected by his business liabilities in any way.
“I have already made arrangements, and I will make sure in the near future that I have no links to private business anymore,” said Kozlovskis.

The minister also says suspicions over his business partners in Russia, based on data from the Lursoft database, are unfounded. He claims that these simply are three Russian citizens from St. Petersburg who wished to invest money into a European Union business and eventually chose Latvia.
The broadcast concludes that, judging from the amount of investment, Kozlovskis’ Russian business partners used the legal opportunity to receive Latvia’s residence permits in exchange for investing money in Latvia.
Kozlovskis’ wife Kristine Kozlovska owns a 30 percent stake in the company Sunny, where one of the co-owners is the Cyprus-registered company I.N.T. Estate Management Limited.

He told ‘Neka personiga’ that he did not know who was behind the offshore company, and said that such questions should be forwarded to the company’s head. He stressed that Sunny was not his business.
Sunny in turn owns a 45 percent interest in the company Catering Service, which services the Saeima canteen and cafe.