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Salary of airBaltic president Flick was almost LVL 320,000 in 11 months of 2008

Alla Petrova, BC, Riga, 10.03.2009.Print version
In the first 11 months of 2008, the salary of the chairman of the board of Latvian national airline airBaltic Bertolt Flick was LVL 319,071, according to information obtained by TV3's investigative news program "Neka Personiga".

Bertolt Flick.

Since the company hides the principles how it determines salaries for its directors, it is not possible to find out why Flick's salary differs in the months of February, March and June – around LVL 14,00 per month, but, for example, in July, he received LVL 100,000, which is five times more than his average salary when compared to the rest of the year, writes LETA.


Flick's salary has never been made known. Since 2006, he has been battling the State Revenue Service in the courts so he would not have to hand in his income declaration.


Last December, the Administrative Regional Court ruled in favor of the State Revenue Service, however, Flick appealed this ruling, and the appeal will be reviewed by the Court of Appeals this November.


Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis (Latvia's First Party/Latvia's Way) told the TV program that he does not understand why Flick has been hiding the amount of his salary.

According to Godmanis, if income declarations are submitted by the directors of telecommunication company Lattelecom, in which the state has a majority stake, then a declaration must also be submitted by the directors of airBaltic, where the state also has controlling interest in.


Since the state has controlling interest in airBaltic and the law states that directors in such companies must submit income declarations, the TV program sent several questions to the airline's director, asking whether he confirms that he received a salary of over LVL 300,000 last year, however, the airline made the decision to turn to the Prosecutor General's Office and the Finance Police, because it believes that a crime has been committed that such private information has been obtained and made public.


During court proceedings, Flick's attorneys argued that their client does not need to submit an income declaration, because of a agreement signed between Latvia and Sweden. In 1995, when airBaltic was established, the above mentioned agreement was signed to protect Sweden's interests, which did not wish for the company's board members to have the Latvian law applied on them in full. But currently, when the airline's shares previously owned by Sweden have been purchased by Baltijas aviacijas sistemas Ltd., which is owned by Flick, the above mentioned agreement between Latvia and Sweden is void and does not hold up in court, "Neka Personiga" believes.


The past few years, Latvia's highest paid official was the previous chairman of the board of Lattelecom Nils Melngailis. Even though Lattelecom has much Scandinavian capital, Melngailis respected Latvia's laws and submitted an income declaration every year.


Melngailis' average monthly salary at Lattelecom was more than LVL 14,000, however, airBaltic president Flick was almost two-times better paid than Melngailis at Lattelecom, which paid out LVL 20 million worth of dividends to the state last year. In comparison, since Flick has been the head of Latvia's national airline, it has not earned the state anything. During the only year when the airline operated with a substantial profit – LVL 4.3 million in 2008, the company did not share its profit with the state, but shifted the money to cover previous losses, according to the airline's annual report.


According to LETA archives, in 2007, the profit of airBaltic was LVL 1.24 million, in 2006 – LVL 4,600, whilst in 2005, the company operated with LVL 1,300 in losses.


airBaltic was established in 1995. Currently, the State of Latvia owns a 52.6% stake in airBaltic, whilst Baltijas aviacijas sistemas owns a 47.2% stake in the airline.


The fleet of airBaltic is made up of 28 airplanes.

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