Job switching has begun in Meroni-controlled companies

Rudolfs Meroni's right-hand man Gints Laiviņš-Lavenieks has lost the position of the Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Council of JSC Ventspils tirdzniecības osta (VTO), becoming just a Member of the Supervisory Council, according to the information of the Register of Enterprises on
09.09.2021. Uldis Dreiblats
MERONI'S RIGHT-HAND MAN Gints Laiviņš-Laivenieks has conceded the leadership of JSC Ventspils tirdzniecības osta to Rudolfs Meroni's favored Lidia Khytrychenko ©Nora Krevneva/F64

The changes in the management of the VTO took place recently - on September 2.

R. Meroni's favorite, Lidia Khytrychenko, a Ukrainian citizen, has now taken over as Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Council of VTO. Most likely, her relative Mykhailo Khytrychenko has become a member of the VTO Board. Judging by the personal identification code, he has acquired Latvian citizenship.

Valērijs Pašuta has retained the position of the Chairman of the Board. R. Meroni's attendant Aivars Gobiņš and someone named Jānis Pauls have also become Members of the Board.

Meanwhile, R. Meroni, L. Khytrychenko, G. Laiviņš-Laivenieks, as well as Ivars Landmanis have been appointed as Members of the Supervisory Council. The latter is the head of the Baltic Association - Transport and Logistics (BATL) founded by R. Meroni-controlled companies, who unsuccessfully ran in the Ventspils City Council elections in June.

According to the State official's declarations of I. Landmanis, he has been richly rewarded by the companies controlled by R. Meroni, for example, in 2020 he received 45,000 euros from JSC Ventbunkers and from BATL - 7,600 euros; in 2019 he received 46,300 euros from JSC Ventbunkers and 17,800 euros from BATL; in 2018 from JSC Ventbunkers - 48,400 euros and from BATL - 12,000 euros, etc.

The posts look specially selected for him. For example, in 2019 he was the Head of the Economics and Budget Department of JSC Ventbunkers, while in 2020 - the Head of External Communications in JSC Ventbunkers.

G. Laiviņš-Laivenieks has been appointed the Deputy Chairman of the VTO Council numerous times in 2010-2016. Then, for about a year and a half, he was just a Member of the VTO Council, but then again from August 2018 became R. Meroni's Deputy, until September 2 this year, when he conceded the post to L. Khytrychenko.

At least for the time being, G. Laiviņš-Laivenieks has retained the positions of the Deputy Chairman of the Council of JSC Ventbunkers and JSC Kālija parks.

The change in the management of the VTO is also interesting from the point of view that the VTO report for 2019 states that the VTO has borrowed more than 10 million euros “from a shareholder”, and more than 3 million euros have been accrued as a percentage.

The annual report states that "the loan agreement includes specific requirements regarding the lender's representation on the Company's Board and Council". It also states that the shareholder who has lent millions "controls more than 93%" of the lender's share capital, so the risk that a Board or Council unfavorable to the lender may be appointed is "considered insignificant".

This remark could also mean that the shareholder structure of the VTO has changed. This, in turn, is relevant because "20.161% of the rights of the true beneficiary", which, I quote, "derive from Briskly Limited and Beleggingmaatshappij Geit B.V. shares of JSC Ventspils tirdzniecības osta" have been seized. Respectively, there are at least two shareholders in the VTO.

R. Meroni, on the other hand, had to hand over the two foreign companies to the Provision State Agency a year ago, which had to take control of them and thus exercise control over the "lender's representation on the Company's Board and Council".


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