Trump pops up in Latvian 'oligarch conversations' investigation

Anyone hoping to escape the slew of headlines generated by U.S. President Donald Trump on a daily basis by following the progress of Latvia's parliamentary commission into the so-called "oligarch conversations" scandal was in for a surprise October 30 when Trump's name cropped up during cross-examination of former Transport Minister Ainars Šlesers.

Šlesers, a businessman and former politician who is widely regarded as one of Latvia's cadre of "oligarchs" revealed during questioning that he had met with Trump years previously to discuss potential investment projects.

"Mr Trump is no longer a businessman. He is the president. If you are interested to know if I have met him, yes, I can reply that we have met. I've met not only him, but also his family representatives, several times.

"But this agitation surrounding Mr Trump, in my opinion, is very improper. For a start, when I talked with him he was not a presidential candidate. Secondly, these meetings were not set up by ourselves - if I'm not mistaken they took place when I was visiting various American cities, including New York, to talk with Mr Trump at events at which our embassy, our ambassador and so forth also participated. Everything was in line with protocol."

Trump was not someone who should be involved in connection with the work of the parliamentary commission, Šlesers said, adding that when acting as Transport Minister and Riga Deputy Mayor he had met numerous high-profile figures around the world in his efforts to attract investment to Latvia, including Trump ally and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

As previously reported by LSM, Trump and his businesses have been linked to Latvia several times previously and in 2012 his son was in Riga on a high-profile visit sniffing out business deals.

As also previously reported by LSM, the oligarch investigation comes as a result of scandalous transcripts published by the news weekly Ir over the summer.

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