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Anti-Corruption Police Arrest Latvian Central Bank Chief
22 February 2018, 12:56 | Floyd Cook
Latvian central bank governor Ilmar Rimsevics led the nation into the Eurozone in 2014
The anti-corruption watchdog did not reveal the parties involved in the bribery case, but said that the case was not related to any crediting institutions now operating in Latvia.
Rimsevics was detained in the early hours of Sunday amid a new bribery probe launched by the anti-corruption bureau.
Norvik's chairman, Grigory Guselnikov, also told the AP how individuals connected to Rimsevics had asked his bank to launder money from Russian Federation.
Latvia's Norvik Bank is taking action against the Latvian state, claiming that a "senior Latvian" official abused their position and sought bribes. "I think at this point it would be sensible for Mr. Rimsevics to withdraw, at least during course of investigation", settled. The government cannot force him to step down - only a court can - because the central bank is politically independent.
The U.S. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has said non-resident banking in Latvia increases the risk that criminals and shell companies could conduct fraudulent transactions or hide their financial dealings. One bank, ABLV, has already needed a rescue loan from the central bank to remain afloat.
Latvia's financial sector was left reeling Monday after anti-corruption officials arrested its central bank chief over an alleged bribe and the country's third-largest bank's payments were frozen amid accusations of money laundering.
The defence ministry said there was a "high probability that [a] massive information operation" had been conducted from overseas.
The photo has caused debate within Latvia, a country that has been trying to distance itself from its much larger neighbour, Russia, by joining Western institutions like the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
The Latvian ministry of defence cast doubt about the veracity of the photo, as did Rimsevics.
In response, Guselnikov said Rimsevics' comments were contradictory.
The FKTK said Trasta had breached capital rules and broken anti-money laundering and terrorism financing regulations.
To shake off accusations that its lenders hold wealth with questionable origins, Latvia's financial regulator has fined three banks for handling accounts that were involved in a $1 billion Moldovan fraud in 2014. "The bank now needs to take measures for ensuring availability of sufficient financial assets".
Once word spread that ABLV was managing accounts for clients connected to North Korea, including the sanctioned Foreign Trade Bank that handles the funding for Pyongyang's banned nuclear weapons programme, key financial institutions finally began cutting ties to the bank and thus denying it access to outside funding.
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