Jailbird Lembergs could be sprung on 100,000 euro bail

The Riga Regional Court on February 22 decided to grant a request from the lawyer of former Ventspils mayor Aivars Lembergs, setting EUR 100,000 bail on his client.

Lembergs, who is subject to U.S. sanctions, will have to post bail within a month and will be banned from taking up the position of Ventspils mayor.

As previously reported, Riga Regional Court on February 22, 2021 slapped a five-year jail term, confiscation of property and a EUR 20,000 fine on Lembergs who was tried for massive graft, money laundering, abuse of his official powers and other crimes. Lembergs appealed the court's decision.

Lembergs was arrested at the court room immediately upon his conviction. The court, however, took into account the time Lembergs had already spent in arrest - from March 14 until July 10, 2007, and in house arrest - from July 10, 2007, until February 22, 2008.

The court also ruled that Lembergs has to pay large sums to several victims in the case.

In relation to some other charges Lembergs was acquitted.

Lembergs' son, Anrijs Lembers got a jail term of two years and one month with confiscation of property, while Lembergs' former business partner Ansis Sormulis was sentenced to two years in jail with confiscation of property.

The court started hearing the Lembergs case back in 2009 and its on-again, off-again character over the next decade became increasingly absurd. Despite the fact that he was being tried on serious fraud and corruption charges, Lembergs continued to play a very active role in politics, via his patronage of the Greens and Farmers Union political force. On a weekly basis he would also opine on matters of world and domestic politics via the Ventspils municipal website, frequently referring to himself in the third person.

The imposition of U.S. sanctions in 2019 saw his reputation for being untouchable shattered, though the convicted criminal continues to garner surprising support among sections of society even today.

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