(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. sanctioned a Latvian “oligarch” and businesses related to him over corruption -- the first person from the Baltic nation that the Treasury has added to its so-called Magnitsky list of crooked officials.
Lembergs, a former mayor of the port city of Ventspils, a key outlet for Russian crude exports in the 1990s, has been fighting graft charges in Latvian courts for about a decade.
The country -- a NATO and European Union member -- is trying to rebuild its reputation after a string of money-laundering scandals and the ongoing trial of its central bank governor for bribery.
“Lembergs has leveraged and corrupted law-enforcement officials to protect his interests and subvert politicians whom he otherwise was unable to control,” the Treasury said in a statement.
Lembergs has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in his court proceedings.
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