The Latvian daily Diena reports that Nils Melngailis, CEO of Lattelecom, has been effectively fired by the Latvian government. Minister of Justice and acting Minister of Economics Gaidis Berzins reportedly told Melngailis that the government, which owns 51 % of Lattelecom, would not extent his tenure as chairman of the management board.
The newspaper points to Melngailis support of a management-employee buy-out of Lattelecom as the reason for the government's step. Reported Baiba Rulle suggests that former prime minister and founder of the ruling People's Party, the so-called oligarch Andris Skele may be behind the effort to unseat Melngailis.
She earlier wrote that Melngailis brought the large US private equity group Blackstone into the MBO deal in order to checkmate efforts by Skele to get a piece of Lattelecom. Skele has been known for making extremely complex and byzantine arrangements to take an almost untraceable interest in major projects. He allegedly backed the discredited Latvian TV digitization project through several layers of offshore companies.