LOK President Žoržs Tikmers is set to be considered a public official in Latvia, after being accused of a conflict of interest through the use of five companies as suppliers ©LOK

The Latvian Olympic Committee's (LOK) leadership are set to be considered public officials, requiring them to adhere to conflict of interest regulations in the country.

LOK President Žoržs Tikmers had been the subject of accusations of a conflict of interest, after revelations by state-owned public service broadcaster Latvijas Televīzija that five companies in which his ex-wife Gita Ducmane and current spouse Inese Celmiņa are current or previous co-owners have been long-term suppliers of the LOK.

Tikmers has denied influence on the choice of relevant companies, and claimed he is subject to a "defamation campaign".

The LOK's head of the legal department Raitis Keselis insisted a conflict of interest did not exist because Tikmers was not considered a public official, and said the Executive Committee's guidelines adopted in February are "even stricter in some places than what is stipulated in the Conflict of Interest Law", as reported by Public Broadcasting of Latvia (LSM).

The LOK Ethics Commission is investigating a potential conflict of interest involving Tikmers, with its next meeting planned for May 11.

LSM has reported that the LOK President, secretary general Kārlis Lejnieks and members of the Executive Committee are to be recognised as public officials, following a parliamentary Sports Subcommittee of the Education, Science and Culture Commission attended by the Ministry of Education and Science's sports department acting director Ginta Ozola.

This followed a risk analysis by the Anti-Corruption Agency of Latvia which found the LOK leadership could meet the criteria to be deemed public officials, which was recognised as valid by the State Revenue Service (SRS).

Žoržs Tikmers has been in a public dispute with former Latvian President and current LBS head Raimonds Vējonis, after claims of an attempted
Žoržs Tikmers has been in a public dispute with former Latvian President and current LBS head Raimonds Vējonis, after claims of an attempted "coup" at the LOK General Assembly ©Getty Images

According to the Ministry of the Interior, LOK officials could be deemed public officials because they have the right to take decisions on the acquisition of property of a public official and distributing financial resources.

The Ministry of the Interior intends to request information from the LOK to submit to the SRS a clarified list of public officials.

Tikmers has been engaged in a public dispute with Latvian Basketball Association (LBS) President and former head of state Raimonds Vējonis, after the LOK President alleged an attempted "coup" at last month's General Assembly.

He said he could "only express regret" if a "public smear campaign" had been organised by the LBS.

Vējonis has in turn accused Tikmers of spreading "false information" and called for a change in LOK leadership, although denied interest in the Presidential role.

Tikmers has previously served as LOK vice-president from 1992 to 2012 and then secretary general until 2020, and has gained a reputation in the Olympic Movement for his strong opposition to Russian and Belarusian participation in sport since the start of the war in Ukraine.