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Top European banker arrested in money-laundering probe
« on: February 19, 2018, 06:30:21 AM »
https://www.rt.com/business/419229-latvia-central-bank-corruption-ablv/
Top European banker arrested in money-laundering probe
19 Feb, 2018

The head of Latvia's central bank and member of the European Central Bank (ECB) governing council has been detained as part of a corruption investigation in the country.

The arrest comes four days after the US Treasury accused Latvia’s third-largest lender of “institutionalized money laundering”. According to the US officials, Latvia’s ABLV bank had made money laundering into “a pillar of the bank’s business practices.”

“Illicit financial activity at the bank includes transactions for parties connected to UN-designated entities, some of which are involved in North Korea’s procurement or export of ballistic missiles,” the US Treasury said.

Following the report, Latvia’s central bank governor Ilmars Rimsevics was interrogated for eight hours on Saturday. “We are facing a crisis of the international reputation of the Latvian financial system,” said Latvian Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozolaana. Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis has called for the resignation of the central bank governor.

ABLV claims the US reports are based on unfounded and misleading information. The bank is based in the Latvian capital
Riga but also has subsidiaries in Luxembourg and the US.

The European Central Bank (ECB) stopped all payments by ABLV on Monday. "In recent days, there has been a sharp deterioration of the bank's financial position," the ECB said in a statement on Monday.

"A moratorium was considered necessary given that the bank is working with the Latvian central bank and authorities to address the current situation."

To stabilize the financial situation, ABLV asked the Bank of Latvia to issue a loan of €480 million, offering securities as collateral. It loaned ABLV €97.5 million on Monday.  Last year, two Latvian banks were fined for allowing clients to make payments to North Korea.
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Re: Top European banker arrested in money-laundering probe
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2018, 06:35:38 AM »
When will they arrest Super Mario Dragon?  ???

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Offline Eddie

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Re: Top European banker arrested in money-laundering probe
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2018, 06:56:11 AM »
When will they arrest Super Mario Dragon?  ???

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Never.
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Re: Top European banker arrested in money-laundering probe
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2018, 07:28:38 AM »
When will they arrest Super Mario Dragon?  ???

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Never.

Not until the Euro 💶 crashes anyhow.

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Latvia's banking sector rocked by U.S. probe, central bank chief's detention
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2018, 07:49:29 AM »
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-latvia-banking/latvias-banking-sector-rocked-by-u-s-probe-central-bank-chiefs-detention-idUSKCN1G30ZP

Business News
February 19, 2018 / 1:32 AM / Updated 2 hours ago
Latvia's banking sector rocked by U.S. probe, central bank chief's detention
Gederts Gelzis


4 Min Read

RIGA (Reuters) - One of Latvia biggest banks was forced to seek emergency help on Monday after it was destabilized by money laundering allegations, hours after the separate detention of the central bank governor on suspicion of soliciting bribes.

The financial sector in Latvia, a small euro zone state that shares a border with Russia, has come under wider scrutiny for being a conduit for illicit financial activities.

ABLV Bank, the country’s third biggest lender, was on Monday ordered by the European Central Bank to stop all payments as its liquidity position had deteriorated sharply since the U.S. Treasury accused it of money laundering.

The U.S. Treasury sought sanctions against ABLV last week, accusing it of allowing clients to conduct business with North Korea, with bank executives and management bribing Latvian officials to cover up the activities.

“ABLV has institutionalized money laundering as a pillar of the bank’s business practices,” the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FCEN) said in a statement linking some of the alleged activities to North Korea’s ballistic missiles program.

The bank has said the U.S. accusations were based on unfounded and misleading information.

The Latvian central bank said it had agreed to provide 97.5 million euros worth of funding to ABLV but details of the deal still need to be worked out and the bank has yet to receive the funding.

ABLV said it had ample collateral so was not seeking a bailout, just temporary liquidity support.

The economy in Latvia, which gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, has boomed in recent years. Its commercial banking sector is dominated by Nordic banks alongside a number of privately-owned local lenders.

In its document detailing the allegations against ABLV, the FCEN said the reliance of the Latvian banking system on non-resident deposits for capital exposed it to increased illicit finance risk. It said such deposits amounted to roughly $13 billion.

“Non-resident banking in Latvia allows offshore companies, including shell companies, to hold accounts and transact through Latvian banks,” it said, adding criminal groups and corrupt officials may use such schemes to hide true beneficiaries or create fraudulent business transactions.
A logo of the ABLV Bank is pictured in Riga, Latvia February 18, 2018. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

“(Former Soviet Union) actors often transfer their capital via Latvia, frequently through complex and interconnected legal structures, to various banking locales in order to reduce scrutiny of transactions and lower the transactions’ risk rating.”
CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR

In a separate development, Latvia’s anti-corruption authority said it had detained central bank governor Ilmars Rimsevics, an ECB policymaker, over the weekend for demanding a bribe.
Slideshow (2 Images)

It said its investigation was not connected to the probe into ABLV.

“(Rimsevics’ arrest)... is about demanding a bribe of no less than 100,000 euros,” Jekabs Straume, the head of Latvia’s Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau told reporters at a news conference.

Rimsevics’ lawyer on Sunday declined to comment on what he was being investigated for but said the detention was unlawful.

Latvia’s government increased pressure on the central bank boss to quit.
Related Coverage

    Latvian anti-corruption unit says central bank chief held over bribe demand
    Latvia central bank governor detention matter for national authorities: EU Commission

“I can’t imagine that a governor of the Bank of Latvia detained over such a serious accusation could work,” Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis said on Monday.

After joining the European Union in 2003, Latvia adopted the euro as its currency at the start of 2014, a move which gave its central bank governor a seat on the currency bloc’s top policymaking council.

Rimsevics was arrested on Saturday after police searched his office and home. He can be held for 48 hours, a period which is due to expire late on Monday.

The European Commission said on Monday that Rimsevics’ detention was a matter for Latvian authorities.

Reporting by Gederts Gelzis in RIGA and Balazs Koranyi in FRANKFURT; Additional reporting by Simon Johnson in STOCKHOLM, Silvia Aloisi in LONDON and Jan Strupczewski and Alissa de Carbonne in BRUSSELS; Editing by Toby Chopra
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