RIGA – Publication of bank account documents that allegedly belong to the son and daughter of Ventpsils Mayor Aivars Lembergs has enlivened the already boisterous pre-election mood in Latvia.
The documents, published on the Internet portal www.rokasgramata.com show two very lively personal accounts that have seen millions of dollars pass through them over the period 2000-2006.
One of them belonging to a woman named Līga Lemberga, likely the Ventspils mayor’s daughter, shows a robust shopping regimen at brand-name stores in London. The account indicated that Līga received a whopping 13.5 million lats ($26 million) from one Aivars Lembergs over the course of six years, according to the Delfi news portal.
The other, in a name of a man by the name of Anrijs Lembergs, the same name of the Ventspils mayor’s son, also showed a high-end lifestyle with thousands of dollars spent in Riga restaurants and hotels. Remarkably, Anrijs Lembergs reportedly admitted on Monday that the published documents are genuine and has filed a complaint to the prosecutor’s office.
The origin of the documents is unclear, but the prevailing theory is that they are related to the ongoing investigation into Aivars Lembergs, who has been incriminated on charges of bribery, money laundering, and tax evasion.
Exposure by Internet
Regardless, the online publication continues the popular trend in Latvia of “going public” with secret and ill-gotten documents, and also highlights the growing stakes in the upcoming national election. In a high-profile, internationally publicized scheme earlier this year, Ilmārs Poikāns downloaded thousands of income statements from Latvian government officials and publicly-owned companies and gradually made them available over the Internet using the the moniker “Neo.”
Even if the accounts are genuine, their publication is unlikely that the bank statements will have any impact on the Union of Greens and Farmers, a centrist coalition party that Aivars Lembergs controls. The party is expected to easily surpass the 5 percent barrier in the October ballot and into the 10th Saeima.
For his part, Lembergs said Tuesday that his “old enemies” are behind the document leakage and that it is part of a mud-slinging campaign against him. Specifically, the mayor suggested that journalist Lato Lapsa was behind the leakage. In the past Lapsa has published books of secret materials related to former President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga and Parex Bank founders Valery Kargin and Vladimir Krasovitsky.
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