My paper, for those of you who don't read Latvian, is front paging a rumor that Ingrida Bluma, CEO of Hansabanka, a big and prestigious Swedish-owned bank in Latvia, may be leaving her job to take up a post at Lattelecom.
The rumor is qualified by a) Bluma saying that it ain't true, but then again, she doesn't plan to die at Hansabanka (she's a young and healthy lady, mid-forties) b) a high Lattelecom source (but not the Man) saying that the apparent reason for the rumor is a recent Hansabanka customer party where there was drinking as if the devil may care (the Latvian is uz velna paraušanu) so you can expect rumors and shit to spread after that.
Even the Minister of Economics, Aigars Stokenbergs, who oversees the Privatization Agency which holds the state's 51 % of Lattelecom says he knows nothing of this. Also Erkki Raakuste (a man's name, not Finno-Ugric for "bird flu" --men running through the streets shouting erkki raakuste! and blasting free-roaming poultry with flamethrowers ain't gonna happen) the main honcho of the Hansabank group denies it and says Ingrida laughed at the rumor.
Meanwhile, the source who told my colleague of this say he was not at the party and not drinking. Go figure.
Oh yes, and the The Man (Nils Melngailis) also no comments the rumors.
In fact, none of this makes any sense. One claim is that TeliaSonera wants Melngailis out because he is acting too independently and competing against the soon-not-to be half mother. And therein lies the the problem. Like it or not, Lattelecom is the currency (49 %) that TeliaSonera will be paying for the government's share of Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT). With both parties just barely agreed on an assessor to valuate both companies – LMT and Lattelecom – somebody would have to be a fuckwit to diss the CEO of Lattelecom and devalue one's own currency. Sorta like holding US hundred USD bills and writing graffiti on them, dark glasses and weird horns and noses on General Grant's face. Them bills is not going to be accepted as payment...
Where there is a certain capacity for wacko, byzantine and fuckwit schemes is, of course, the Latvian government and whatever loonie interests seem to have the upper hand behind it, EXCEPT that Stokenbergs and his crew, to my mind, pass the Alfred E Neuman test, that is Not Insane!. So they are not doing it and have many reasons to keep Melngailis as The Man.
In short, the whole rumor is one of those wackazoonie summer stories newspapers print in the boredom of mid-August (what the Swedes call, stories of the rotting month rötmånadshistorier). I just hope that we haven't burned any bridges to the Hansabanka leadership with this, but hey--whatever...
Music listened to while writing this: Rush Spirit of Radio, Big Brother & The Holding Company, Combination of the Two, The Byrds, I Wasn't Born to Follow, The Doors, LA Woman, The Eagles, Take it Easy.