Lielvārde mayor steps down after trying to borrow €200m

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On Tuesday the mayor of Lielvārde Jānis Āboliņš has stepped down after reportedly signing a €200m promissory note with the Riverside HK Ltd offshore company registered in Liechtenstein, acting mayor Vita Volonte told BNS.

According to Volonte, the city council was informed about the fact from the State Treasury.

"While Āboliņš is saying that it's not a loan, I have no reason not to believe the information of the State Treasury," she said.

According to Āboliņš, he had found an investor that would loan the city €200m for a year without interest. Aivars Draudiņš, the head of the Municipality Department at the Ministry for Environment and Regional Development (VARAM), said that Āboliņš didn't have the clearance to sign the papers.

Draudiņš explained that the State Treasury had been asked to accept "papers written in English" and that the form of the document didn't allow understanding its purpose. 

While Āboliņš told LSM that he had unilaterally signed a letter of intention with the company with the goal of securing investments for the development of the municipality. He said that the document wasn't binding.

The document in question was signed with the Liechtenstein offshore company Riverside HK Ltd.

The municipality will ask for documents related to this case, to be also reviewed by VARAM. After the review, it's possible that the ministry will turn to the authorities. 

On Tuesday Āboliņš resigned and the members of the city council accepted his resignation with an unanimous vote. The council distances itself from Āboliņš' deal and will turn to the authorities, asking to review the current situation. Āboliņš retains the post of a council member.

Lielvārde is a small town by any means. Its 2015 budget was about €11m - more than 15 times the amount of the loan. About 6,500 people live there.

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