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Unknown robs Latvijas PrivatBank clients’ private safes

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Private safes of multiple Latvijas PrivatBank clients were robbed last Thursday, as reported by LNT News.

Each safe has two locks with two separate keys – one for the client and the other for the bank. This two-lock system is an additional safety measure. However, this system was breached, the programme reports.

Several individual safes were robbed of all valuables. Police were informed of what happened on the next day. The exact number of robbed safes and the extent of damages remains unknown. However, it is entirely possible the thieves’ haul reaches hundreds of thousands if not a million euros, as reported by LNT News.

Riga Region Criminal Police Chief Andrejs Sozinovs confirmed what happened to the programme and added that police have commenced a criminal process for theft. «Punishment may include two to ten years in prison. The initial investigation revealed that this crime may be an international one. The Chief Criminal Police Office has taken over this case,» said Sozinovs.

The Chief of Criminal Police notes that this is the first time such a crime has happened in Latvia. The thief pretended to be a client. He told the bank employees that he came to rent a safe. When the client was allowed in the safe hall, where he was left alone for a time, the thief proceeded to rob safes. «I wouldn’t say the execution was all that complex, but the crime was planned in advance,» said Sozinovs.

Police allow that the thief has already left Latvia.

The programme reports that the thief was a foreign citizen. It is also worth mentioning that similar thefts had taken place in Ukraine in the recent past.

The robbery in Latvia was uncovered when another client opened their safe and found that it was empty.

Finance and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) notes that investigation of this crime is in the competence of law enforcement institutions. ‘Cases that involve clients’ individual safes – which is a service provided by banks are in the competence of respective banks. Contents of those safes, however, belong to private persons and are not associated with banks’ balance. Loss of those valuables does not affect a bank’s solvency or stability, because the client can keep whatever they want in those safes,’ explains FCMC representative Agnese Līcīte.

Ukraine’s PrivatBank is Latvian PrivatBank’s largest shareholder. It owns 46.5% of Latvian PrivatBank’s shares. In December 2016, Ukrainian government nationalized PrivatBank. The state of Ukraine because the bank’s owner. Other shareholders own less than 10% of Latvian PrivatBank. Among the minority shareholders is also Igor Kolomoisky, who owns 8.38% of the bank’s shares.

The financial account for 2016 accessible at Firmas.lv shows that Latvian PrivatBank’s profits in 2016 reached 3,001 million euros.

According to information compiled by Latvian Association of Commercial Banks, PrivatBank was the 14th largest bank in Latvia in 2016.


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