Sanctions lifted on Ventspils port by U.S. Treasury

A frantic day of legislating in the Latvian Saeima appeared to have paid off, at least in the short term, December 18 with the Ventspils port apparently removed from a U.S sanctions list that had threatened to wreck business at Latvia's second-largest port.

Following no fewer than three extraordinary sessions of Saeima in a single day to take ownership of the port fully into public hands, Minister of Foreign Affiars Edgars Rinkēvičs broke the news on Twitter, linking to a relase from the United States Department of the Treasury which confirmed that changes had been made to the sanctions regime announced December 9 against the port and three other bodies linked to businessman, mayor and political fixer Aivars Lembergs (see attachment).

Rinkēvičs took the opportunity to thank several of his Foreign Ministry colleagues for their role in getting the sanctions lifted.


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"The decision was made after intensive discussions with the Latvian Embassy in the US, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other institutions, as well as reviewing all actions taken and planned by Latvia to permanently prevent the influence of the specified individual in Ventspils Free Port and Ventspils Free Port Authority," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

"As a result, the Ventspils Free Port Authority, Ventspils Free Port and companies operating in the port can continue to work smoothly," the ministry added.

"The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is issuing amended Global Magnitsky General License Number 1A​ "Authorizing Certain Activities Necessary to the Wind Down of Transactions Involving Ventspils Attistibas Agentura, Biznesa Attistibas Asociacija, and Latvijas Tranzita Biznesa Asociacija." said the U.S. Treasury in a further clarification of how the other three businesses on the sanctions list are expected to conclude their operations within 30 days.

Ventspils port is the second largest port in Latvia, with the total economic impact in the Latvian GDP structure of around percent. 19.5 million tonnes of cargo were transhipped in Ventspils port in the first 11 months of 2019.

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