Wiretaps produced in Lembergs case

  • 2013-08-14
  • From wire reports

RIGA - Prosecutors on the Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs criminal case on Aug. 12 submitted new evidence - wiretaps from Danish security services - which, according to the prosecutors, proves that Lembergs secretly owns or is partial owner of several companies, reports LETA. Meanwhile, according to unofficial information, yet another key witness in the criminal case against Lembergs - Juris Skibelis - has died.

Prosecutor Juris Juriss told LETA that the wiretaps were recorded in a Copenhagen hotel in 2005, and that the voices of several defendants in the criminal case can be heard - Lembergs, his son Anrijs Lembergs, and Ventspils businessman Ansis Sormulis.

The prosecutor believes that the content of the wiretaps proves that Lembergs secretly owns or is a partial owner of several companies.

“How the court will view this evidence, we do not know. However, this is the first such evidence where Lembergs himself is heard discussing his ownership in several companies, which he had previously denied. Such companies as Ventbunkers, Latvijas naftas tranzits and Ostas floti are mentioned in the wiretaps. This evidence also shows that Lembergs’ children are also involved in these structures. The wiretaps also show that Lembergs and Sormulis have known all along about the money laundering scheme, which they themselves constructed and discussed,” the prosecutor points out.

Prosecutor Juriss says that this is extremely important evidence in the case, as these audio recordings confirm witness testimonies. “Up until now, we have had various testimonies from witnesses saying that Lembergs secretly owns such and such companies. Now, we have audio recordings where he discusses these companies himself. This is very important. For example, Lembergs’ defense team went on the attack and attempted to smear key witness Janis Blazevics, who testified that Lembergs had purchased shares in Ventbunkers from him. But in these audio recordings, we hear Lembergs himself discussing amounts he is prepared to pay to purchase Blazevics’ Ventbunkers shares. The sum mentioned was 50 million,” Juriss points out.

The wiretaps also show the huge influence Lembergs has, according to the prosecutor, as he had called then Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis (People’s Party). “This is another piece of evidence proving Lembergs’ huge influence in economic and political matters in the country. For example, he speaks about the financing of political parties with the prime minister - which speaks volumes about his influence,” the prosecutor said.

The discussions were recorded by Danish security services in cooperation with the Constitutional Protection Bureau. The Supreme Court sanctioned the wiretaps.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor does not believe that the death of witness Skibelis will negatively influence of the case against Lembergs, as he was questioned several times by the prosecution and this information is already on record.
Several other witnesses in the case have died under suspicious circumstances in recent years - businessman Krists Skuja in 2009, as well as Ventspils businessman Laimonis Junkers, also in 2009.

Lembergs, the ‘mayor by the sea,’ is accused of several crimes, including bribe-taking, bribe-giving, money-laundering, violations of the Law on Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Activities of Public Officials. Lembergs denies all the charges, calling them politically motivated.