Aivars Lembergs

Aivars Lembergs

Mayor of Ventspils
Date of Birth: 26.09.1953
Country: Latvia

Biography of Aivars Lembergs

Aivars Lembergs, also known as Aivars Robertovich Lembergs, was born on September 26, 1953, in Jekabpils, Latvian SSR. He has been the head of the city administration of Ventspils, Latvia since 1988. He has held various positions such as chairman of the Ventspils City Executive Committee, chairman of the Ventspils City Council of People's Deputies, chairman of the Ventspils City Council, and mayor of Ventspils. He is also the leader of the regional party "Latvijai un Ventspilij" ("For Latvia and Ventspils"). Since 1994, he has been the president of the Latvian Transit Business Association. Lembergs is one of the wealthiest citizens of Latvia.

Lembergs started his career as a worker in a construction organization in Jekabpils in 1968-1969. In 1977, he graduated from the Economics Faculty of the University of Latvia. During his studies, he worked as a laboratory assistant and worker at the same university. In 1977-1978, Lembergs worked as an engineer-economist at the Ventspils Oil Terminal. In 1978, he entered party work and became an instructor, head of department, and later secretary of the Ventspils City and District Committee of the Communist Party of Latvia. In 1987, Lembergs was appointed as an instructor in the agricultural and food industry department of the Republican Central Committee of the party. He used his affiliation with the nomenklatura as an argument against accusations of connections with the KGB.

In 1988, Lembergs was elected chairman of the Ventspils City Executive Committee. He continued to lead the city as chairman of the Ventspils City Council of People's Deputies from 1991 to 1994 and as chairman of the Ventspils City Council and mayor of Ventspils since 1994. In 1994, he became the official leader of the newly established regional party "Latvijai un Ventspilij" ("For Latvia and Ventspils"), which was later referred to in the press as "Lembergs' party." Candidates from this party not only occupied the majority of seats in the city council but also successfully won seats in the parliament. Lembergs was also elected as a member of the Latvian Supreme Council in 1990 (served until 1993). From 1994 to 2000, he served as the government-appointed representative in the Latvian Railway company. Lembergs became the president of the basketball club "Ventspils" in 1994 and also chaired the board of the Ventspils Freeport, along with leading the Latvian Transit Business Association, which he founded.

Lembergs was mentioned as one of the richest citizens of Latvia and received the highest official income among public officials in the country in September 1996. In 1997, he became a millionaire after inheriting from a deceased associate, Vitaly Leinsh, who left his entire estate to Lembergs. The inheritance included real estate, cash, and the ownership of a copier company. According to media reports, Lembergs' income from transit transportation accounted for more than 60% of Latvia's total service exports or 10% of its GDP by mid-2000 (with 60% of the transit being oil and petroleum products).

Lembergs has been involved in various legal cases since 2007, accused of bribery, money laundering, and providing false information in his official declarations. He has faced multiple allegations of illegal entrepreneurship, concealing income, and exceeding his authority. He was placed under arrest in March 2007 but was released under house arrest in July 2007. Lembergs has remained under police supervision, with restrictions on his activities as mayor and head of the freeport, until February 2008. In 2010, a London court began re-examining his case, which also involved his son and a businessman, accusing them of money laundering and supporting Lembergs in his official crimes.

Despite his legal troubles, Lembergs has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the position of prime minister of Latvia. He has been highly popular, with a significant portion of the population supporting his candidacy. In addition to his wealth, Lembergs has created a group of companies with significant economic and administrative power. He has been recognized with various awards and honors, including the Order of the Three Stars and the Participant of the Barricades commemorative badge. Lembergs is married to Inara, and they have two adult children, son Anrijs, who is an entrepreneur, and daughter Liga, who is a lawyer.