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FCMC to investigate ABLV Bank again; no operational restrictions applied to the bank

Pēters Putniņš/fktk.lv.
Latvia’s Finance and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) has plans to perform an additional investigation at ABLV Bank in the next couple of weeks, says the commission’s manager Pēters Putniņš, adding that no operational restrictions have been applied to the bank so far.

«First of all, we have to determine what happened, especially because most of the episodes detailed in the report from the US Finance Ministry’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) had been investigated in the past. We are in the middle of investigating specific episodes. We will make our conclusions based on the outcome of the investigation. It is a matter of time,» says Putniņš.

The official refrained from disclosing any details of the investigation.

FCMC manager mentioned that the European Central Bank supervises ABLV Bank in all fields expect for money laundering prevention, which is in the competence of FCMC – all matters related to money laundering and measures for combating this criminal activities are in the hands of Latvia’s institution. This includes the application of sanctions.

«FCMC is currently working on investigating the details of what happened. Measures are also being performed to stabilize the situation and protect the interests of depositors. We have to work hard to ensure this situation does not have a major impact on Latvia’s banking market. I also ask the bank to regularly provide information in regards to their actions in preventing violations and stabilizing the situation,» says Putniņš.

As for the breach of sanctions applied to North Korea, Putniņš mentioned that there had been no direct violation from the viewpoint of Latvian legislation. «USA does not separate violation by association from a direct violation. No matter where the bank may be located, involvement in a breach of sanctions will always be considered a direct violation. Latvia’s laws are different,» he said.

«The bank’s past has affected these developments a lot. We have always said such reputation risks would leave a mark on the bank’s operations,» admits FCMC manager.

He also notes that there is no proof or risks of ABLV Bank offering bribes to any of FCMC’s employees. Over the course of the past two years, FCMC has put in a lot of effort into making ABLV Bank add corrections in its internal operations. This is why Putniņš says that FinCEN’s report about ABLV Bank is an echo from the past.

Currently FCMC has no concerns about any other Latvian bank ending up in the same situation. FCMC has yet to apply any operational restrictions on ABLV Bank. Putniņš says the institution closely follows the bank’s compliance with requirements to make sure clients’ decisions to withdraw money do not create shocks for the entire market.

BNN had previously that US FinCEN plans to apply sanctions against ABLV Bank for money laundering schemes that were used to circumvent sanctions against North Korea and assist with the country’s nuclear arms programme, as well assist with illegal activities in Azerbaijan, Russia and Ukraine.


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