Banks, Corruption, Financial Services, Latvia, Legislation, USA

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 25.06.2019, 23:22

FinCEN: management of ABLV Bank used bribery to influence Latvian officials

BC, Riga, 14.02.2018.Print version
The management of ABLV Bank used bribery to influence Latvian officials when challenging enforcement actions and perceived threats to their high-risk business, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Department of Treasury says in a report, cites LETA.

According to the FinCEN report, ABLV Bank’s business practices enable the provision of financial services to clients seeking to evade financial regulatory requirements. Bank executives and employees are complicit in their clients’ illicit financial activities, including money laundering and the use of shell companies to conceal the true nature of illicit transactions and the identities of those responsible.


“ABLV is considered innovative and forward leaning in its approaches to circumventing financial regulations. The bank proactively pushes money laundering and regulatory circumvention schemes to its client base and ensures that fraudulent documentation produced to support financial schemes, some of which is produced by bank employees themselves, is of the highest quality,” the U.S. authority says in the report.


In 2014, ABLV Bank was involved in the theft of over USD 1 billion in assets from three Moldovan banks, BC Unibank S.A., Banca Sociala S.A., and Banca de Economii S.A., in which criminals took over the three Moldovan banks using a non-transparent ownership structure, partly financed by loans from off shore entities banking at ABLV, FinCEN said.


Previously, ABLV Bank developed a scheme to assist customers in circumventing foreign currency controls, in which the bank disguised illegal currency trades as international trade transactions using fraudulent documentation and shell company accounts.


As reported, FinCEN has proposed sanctions against ABLV Bank for its role in money laundering schemes that have been facilitating transactions for parties connected to North Korea’s nuclear program and illegal activities in Azerbaijan, Russia and Ukraine.


Representatives of ABLV Bank, meanwhile, indicated that the FinCEN report is the department’s proposal which can be objected to within 60 days. The Latvian bank is currently weighing its options as it hopes to persuade FinCEN to revise its proposal. “The bank will make every effort to disprove the allegations,” the bank said.

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