Banks, Corruption, Financial Services, Latvia, Legislation

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 17.03.2018, 16:16

Rimsevics will not step down as Bank of Latvia governor

BC, Riga, 20.02.2018.Print version
The Bank of Latvia Governor Ilmars Rimsevics, who is suspected of extorting and accepting a bribe, has decided not to step down, informs LETA.

As reported, the Corruption Prevention Bureau's Chief Janis Straume has said that there are two suspects in the criminal case - a high-ranking Bank of Latvia official and a private individual, while the bribe amount was at least EUR 100,000.

According to Straume, none of the credit institutions that currently operate in Latvia are involved in the case - neither ABLV Bank that is mentioned in a recent report released by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the U.S. Department of Treasury, nor Norvik Banka that has brought a lawsuit against the state of Latvia.

The Corruption Prevention Bureau detained Rimsevics and businessman Maris Martinsons at the end of last week. Searches were carried out at Rimsevics' office and residence in Langstini. Martinsons, who was detained on Friday, was released on Sunday, while Rimsevics was released Monday evening on a EUR 100,000 bail. The bail was posted by "a good friend", said Rimsevics' attorney Saulvedis Varpins.

A number of politicians have publicly urged Rimsevics to resign.

Rimsevics was voted in by Saeima as the governor of the Bank of Latvia in December 2001, and re-elected in the job in 2007 and 2013. His current term in office will end at the end of 2019.

Ilmars Rimsevics, whom the Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB) has declared a suspect in a major corruption case, said at a news conference on Tuesday that death threats had been made to him.

He also said that last Friday ABLV Bank had asked the Bank of Latvia for liquidity aid in the amount of EUR 1 billion which the central bank would not provide. Searches at the Bank of Latvia began in three hours after the refusal.

"The searches began after we made the decision not to grant the loan," the head of the central bank said.

"It is obvious that step by step I have become inconvenient for many in Latvia. I have received death threats - more precisely, threats to shoot me, and have reported those threats to the law enforcement agencies," Rimsevics said.

Answering the questions from the press, he said he had received a text message to his mobile phone in late January from a certain person whose name he would not disclose to the reporters but said he had informed the law enforcement agencies.

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