09.08.21

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EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XVII – Secret Bank Accounts in Switzerland and Germany

Posted in Europe, Finance, Fraud, Patents at 12:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series index:

  1. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part I – More Captured Delegates?
  2. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part II – Old Wine in New Bottles…
  3. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part III – Introducing the Finnish “Facilitator”
  4. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part IV – Martti Enäjärvi and His “Good Brother” Networks
  5. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part V – A Man With a Conviction…
  6. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part VI – “A Good Friend of Estonia and a Steady Cooperation Partner”
  7. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part VII – A Self-Appointed “Select Committee”
  8. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part VIII – Pulling for the Portuguese Pretender?
  9. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part IX – António’s Faithful Acolyte in Alicante
  10. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part X – A Pan-European “Good Brother” Network Celebration?
  11. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XI – With a Little Help From My Friends…
  12. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XII – Battistelli and His Baltic Fiefdoms
  13. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XIII – Out With the Old, in With the New?
  14. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XIV – Business as Usual in Tallinn
  15. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XV – Worse Than “a Backward Kolkhoz”…
  16. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XVI – A Promising Start Followed by an Unfortunate Cock-Up
  17. You are here ☞ Secret Bank Accounts in Switzerland and Germany

Zigrīds Aumeisters
Zigrīds Aumeisters headed the Latvian Patent Office between March 1992 and June 2010.

Summary: Why Zigrīds Aumeisters was apparently removed at the advanced age of 80; Criminal charges followed, just like his friends up north

The Latvian Patent Office was officially re-established by law on 26 November 1991 and it started operations under its new Director-General Zigrīds Aumeisters on 2 March 1992.

Aumeisters was just over 60 when he took up his new position as head of the Patent Office and he was 80 by the time he was finally put out to grass in June 2010.

His successor was a young lady by the name of Jekaterina Macuka.

Jekaterina Macuka
Jekaterina Macuka ended up as ad interim head of the Latvian Patent Office following Aumeisters’ departure.

It’s not clear how exactly Macuka ended up in charge of the Latvian Patent Office. Prior to taking up that position she was an official at the Justice Ministry and was involved with the Board of Religious Affairs which is responsible for supervising the activities of religious institutions in Latvia. [PDF]

It seems that she was appointed as head of the Patent Office on an ad interim basis just to keep the show on the road pending the appointment of a more suitably qualified candidate. Nevertheless, she was the head of the Latvian delegation on the EPO’s Administrative Council for the first year of Benoît Battistelli‘s EPO presidency.

On 13 July 2011, about a year after Macuka’s appointment, it was announced that the Minister of Justice had decided to appoint Reinis Bērziņš [PDF] to the position of Director-General of the Patent Office following a competitive selection procedure in which Bērziņš was the highest scoring candidate.

Reinis Bērziņš
It fell to Reinis Bērziņš to recover the missing funds.

Bērziņš took up his new position in August 2011 and soon afterwards it was reported in the Latvian media that when reviewing the financial operations of the Patent Office he had discovered the existence of two secret bank accounts operated by Aumeisters. [PDF]

“The Swiss bank account opened in 1999 was used for receiving payments from the WIPO in Geneva and the German bank account opened in 2005 was used for receiving payments from the EPO in Munich.”One of the accounts was opened in Switzerland in 1999 and the other in Germany in 2005.

These dates are not coincidental. They correspond respectively to the date of Latvia’s accession to the Madrid Trademark Agreement administered by WIPO (5 October 1999) and the date of Latvia’s accession to the EPO (1 July 2005).

The Swiss bank account opened in 1999 was used for receiving payments from the WIPO in Geneva and the German bank account opened in 2005 was used for receiving payments from the EPO in Munich.

These secret bank accounts were private accounts under the personal control of Aumeisters. According to Latvian press reports, when the existence of the accounts was discovered in 2011 they contained around € 1.4 million in total.

“In the next part we shall see how there has been a high of turnover at the top of the Latvian Patent Office over the last decade with no less than six directors or “acting directors” since Aumeisters’ departure in June 2010.”Aumeisters explained that he had held the funds in foreign bank accounts because it was needed for the Patent Office’s operations and for improvements in information technology. He said that state funding was scarce and would not have been sufficient to meet the requirements of the institution.

Criminal proceedings were initiated against Aumeisters but the outcome is not known. It’s more than likely that he got off with a slap on the wrist as a reward for cooperating with the authorities and assisting them in their efforts to reclaim the funds.

In the next part we shall see how there has been a high of turnover at the top of the Latvian Patent Office over the last decade with no less than six directors or “acting directors” since Aumeisters’ departure in June 2010.

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