Mystery website producer has ties to Harmony, LTV reports

Ivans Stalnoy, the main producer of of nozagts.com website that posts unverified news, has close ties to the Harmony party, reported LTV's De Facto Sunday.

An examination of Stalnoy's activities appeared previously on LSM in an investigation by tech blogger Jānis Polis. The nozagts.com website has been found to promote disloyalty to the state, sacking the parliament, lowering taxes and voicing other slogans of a populist bent.

For three and a half years Stalnoy, who is not known as a social media expert, consulted the Rīga municipal transport company Rīgas Satiksme.

His term with the company ran out six months ago, shortly before the nozagts.com portal was set up.

According to Viktors Zaķis, the spokesman for Rīgas Satiksme, Stalnoy had helped the company manage its social media profiles, however without posting himself--he had merely given advice. The company's press secretary wasn't able to say what remuneration Stalnoy received for his services.

Stalnoy had likewise worked at the development branch of the municipal housing management company Rīgas Namu Pārvaldnieks.

A review by the State Audit Office a year and a half ago found there's possibility that most workers in this department were employed fictitiously.

Many of them had close ties to the Harmony party, like Svetlana Savicka, a councilwoman; Harmony members' wives – Žanna Pankratova and Aleksandra Klementjeva, as well as Mārtiņš Točs, the son of Nils Ušakovs' press secretary Sandris.

At the time the head of the department told De Facto that these people, including Stalnoy, had been hired by the Rīgas Namu Pārvaldnieks management.

As the review was started, the company liquidated the department over economic grounds. Representatives of the company were unable to tell Stalnoy's former terms of employment as an investigation is ongoing over the Audit Office findings.

Stalnoy himself did not reply to phone calls or text messages and could not be found at an address where a company belonging to him is registered.

One Mihails Šeitelmans is listed as the publisher of nozagts.com. He says that he's funding nozagts.com from his own pockets and had bought the popular Tom's Jokes portal for private funds, about €10,000. Currently the profiles are used for republishing nozagts.com materials and increasing their popularity.

Šeitelmans is the former owner of the TV5 channel, which he later on directed. Together with businessman Valērijs Belokoņs, he was also the owner of novonews.lv.

"Yes, we republish the news but do not check the facts. But 99% of the news in the world aren't checked," said Šeitelmans, denying that this might be a pre-election project for the Harmony party.

He says he wants to buy up more internet resources and popular social media profiles to increase their audience and sell them as a complete set later on.

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