Proposal to ban sanctioned former MPs from entering Saeima gains support

In the Latvian Saeima, the majority of its Legal Commission has conceptually backed the proposal by the New Conservative Party to ban former MPs, who are targeted by sanctions, from entering the parliament’s building.
The proposal was initially submitted one-and-a-half years ago. In Latvia, there is only one former member of the Saeima, who has been targeted by international sanctions. It is the jailed member of the Ventspils City Council, Aivars Lembergs, who was hit by US sanctions in 2019.
In late 2019, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions against Lembergs and four legal entities linked to him alleging that he has been connected with corrupt dealings and influencing civil servants to protect his interests. Later the OFAC lifted its sanctions against the Ventspils Freeport and the Administration of Ventspils Freeport.
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In the sitting of the Legal Commission, MPs from the Union Farmers and Greens and Harmony, both representing the Saeima opposition, spoke against the measure deeming it too harsh a measure, which could other foreign countries influence politics in Latvia.
Juris Jurašs from the New Conservative Party objected that the objective of the draft law is to prevent unlawful influence on decision-making.