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Association: ECB should become more involved in resolving Latvia’s financial scandal

Photo: pixabay.com.
Association of Latvian Commercial Banks sees a need for the European Central Bank (ECB) to become more involved in the discussion and help resolve the situation, considering evaluation of ABLV Bank’s business model is in direct competence of ECB.

Respecting the independence of such an institution like ECB, the association invites Saeima members to invite the head of ECB Supervisory Board Danièle Nouy to visit Latvia and help find solutions to the situation and determine the root cause of the scandal.

The association condemns any violations and use of Latvia’s banking system for illegal activities.

«Considering unwavering attention from international partners, every such case affects all market participants and seriously impacts our industry’s reputation. We are confident that a direct and strict measures against money laundering activities will bring benefits in a long-term perspective and help Latvia’s financial sector recover stability and their reputation,» the association says.

At the same time, the association adds: ‘we fully understand that international partners actively look over our country and the risks associated with the industry. We emphasize that all other market players continue their activities as usual. Banks continue providing their clients with all appropriate services.’

The association also notes that there will be fewer cases of this kind in the future, because the industry constantly works on raising compliance with standards and building up reputation of the financial industry.

It is not impossible that someone may want to undermine Latvia’s financial sector, said chairman of Latvian Finance and Capital Market Commission Pēters Putniņš in an interview to Rīta Panorāma programme on Tuesday, 20 February.

«We cannot exclude this possibility. There are too many coincidences – the country’s political interests and matters associated with the financial system are affected. One of Latvia’s largest bank’s [ABLV Bank] has ended up in a very complicated situation. This is why it is entirely possible that Latvia’s enemies may want to use this situation for their own interests. It is also possible they were the ones who caused this situation in the first place. We have to be carefully. All of Latvia’s institutions have to cooperate,» said Putniņš.

The governor of the Bank of Latvia Ilmārs Rimšēvičs has been applied with a prohibition to take post, said Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis after a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.

It should be added that Rimšēvičs is being held suspect of demanding and receiving bribes worth at least EUR 100,000.

Kučinskis says the government listened on Monday, 19 February, to the report from the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau on Rimšēvičs’ arrest. More detailed information on this matter will be provided by CPCB representatives.

«A security measure was applied to the governor of the Bank of Latvia on 19 February. The least we can expect is a prohibition from performing his duties,» said the prime minister.

He confirmed that the criminal process launched by CPCB is associated with Rimšēvičs’ arrest, not ABLV Bank or any other financial institution. At the same time, he mentioned that CPCB has commenced «decisive and direct efforts to combat machinations in the country’s financial sector».

Chief of CPCB Jēkabs Straume mentioned that there are two individuals involved in the criminal process – a high-ranking official of the Bank of Latvia and some other individual. The bribe in question is worth at least EUR 100,000.


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