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Telecoms giant Tet ditches chairman over link to corruption court case

Latvian telecoms company Tet (formerly called Lattelecom) announced December 4 it was ditching chairman and chief executive officer Juris Gulbis after he was named in connection with a long-running corruption court case.

As previously reported by LSM, Gulbis' has been named in connection with the so-called "digital TV" corruption case.

December 4 saw a shareholder meeting take place at which the decision to dispense with the formerly high-flying Gulbis' services was taken. In a curiously-worded statement on the corporate website, the company said that an independent inquiry commissioned by itself from an unnamed international investigation firm had found no wrongdoing by Gulbis, and that he retained the confidence of the board.

However, the very next paragraph went on to say:

"Despite the fact that no violations have been identified with regard to J. Gulbis, the Tet Council and the representatives of the participants are aware that the fact of making accusations unfortunately casts a shadow over the company's impeccable reputation and creates long-term reputational risks for the company and future value. Consequently, the representatives of the Tet shareholders decided to remove Juris Gulbis from the position of the Chairman of the Board, which at the same time means to leave the position of the Chief Executive Officer. The decision enters into force on 4 December this year."

Gulbis himself was quoted as saying: " I categorically reject once again the allegations made against me by the prosecutor's office. My conscience is clear."

Gulbis joined the company in 2007 and according to the Tet website was resposible for "revitalization of the Tet brand and the development of new work organization, values ​​and culture."

Uldis Tatarčuks, Chief Technology Officer, has been appointed temporary Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer pending a new appointment.

According to publicly available information, the charges against Gulbis relate to a tender for the introduction of digital terrestrial television services 12 years ago. Following the results of a competition organized by the Ministry of Transport in 2008, the Cabinet of Ministers approved SIA Lattelecom at the beginning of 2009 as the implementer of digital television broadcasting in Latvia. The project was completed at the end of 2013.

Prosecutors believe the circumstances of the case resulted in losses of around 7.5 million euros. 

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