Banks, EU – Baltic States, Financial Services, Latvia, Legislation

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 20.05.2019, 01:50

Rimsevics to attend ECB Council meeting in Frankfurt

BC, Riga, 06.03.2019.Print version
Bank of Latvia Governor Ilmars Rimsevics will take part in a meeting of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Governing Council in Frankfurt this Wednesday and Thursday, LETA was told at the Latvian central bank.

Representatives of the Bank of Latvia also indicated that Rimsevics resumed work as the central bank’s governor this week.

As reported, prosecutor Viorika Jirgena has allowed Rimsevics, who in under investigation for graft, to attend the ECB meeting in Frankfurt. As head of the Latvian central bank, Rimsevics is a member of the ECB Governing Council.

Rimsevics has resumed work as Bank of Latvia head after the Court of Justice of the European Union overruled Latvian authorities’ decision suspending Rimsevics from his office.

This measure was temporarily imposed on Rimsevics in the context of a preliminary criminal investigation concerning acts of bribery and corruption which the person concerned is suspected of committing.

The court said that a prohibition, even a temporary one as in the present case, on a governor of a national central bank performing his duties is a relieving from office.

However, Rimsevics is still banned from leaving Latvia without authorization, but he can still ask permission to travel to foreign countries, for instance, for meetings of the European Central Bank (ECB) Council. His security clearance for access to state secrets has also been revoked.

Rimsevics has maintained before the court that he has not committed any of the offenses of which he is accused and that, like the European Central Bank (ECB), he considers that Latvia has not adduced the slightest evidence of those offenses. The court notes that, during the written procedure before it, Latvia did not provide any prima facie evidence of the accusations of bribery which were the basis for the adoption of the decision at issue.

The court requested the representatives of Latvia to communicate to the court, within a short period, the documents supporting the decision at issue. However, none of the documents produced by Latvia following the hearing contains any evidence capable of establishing the existence of sufficient indications as regards whether the accusations made against Rimsevics are well founded.

Consequently, the court holds that Latvia has not established that the relieving of Rimsevics from office is based on the existence of sufficient indications that he has engaged in serious misconduct. The court therefore annuls the decision at issue in so far as it prohibits Rimsevics from performing his duties as Governor of the Central Bank of Latvia.

As reported, Rimsevics is fighting charges he accepted EUR 250,000 in bribes and a trip to Russia from a commercial bank in exchange for helping it with regulatory issues. He’s been restricted from leaving the country and carrying out his duties. The furor is part of a bigger financial storm as the financial industry is retrenching amid allegations of wide-scale money laundering.

The Corruption Prevention Bureau briefly detained Rimsevics in February 2018.

Search site