Banks, Financial Services, Latvia, Security, USA

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 15.08.2020, 22:29

Latvian authorities have enough info to start acting on FinCEN report about ABLV Bank

BC, Riga , 09.03.2018.Print version
The Latvian authorities have enough information "to stop philosophizing" and to start acting on the report by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury about ABLV Bank's involvement in money laundering, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics told LETA after the meeting with Marshall Billingslea, the Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing in the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Rinkevics said the meeting had focused on general cooperation with the U.S. in implementation of the sanctions against North Korea and other countries as well as in the fight against money laundering.

He said that Billingslea had met also with the representatives of the Latvian financial supervision and law enforcement authorities and it was wrong to say that there had been no exchange of information. The U.S. had supplied sufficient information which now needs to be investigated under proper legal procedures, Rinkevics said, stressing that the Foreign Ministry was not the organization responsible for investigation therefore he could not give detailed comments.

The matter of reputation and transparency in the finance sector is a security matter for Latvia and the allied nations as it is related to certain elements of hybrid warfare, Rinkevics said.

As reported, FinCEN in mid-February published a report proposing sanctions against Latvia's ABLV Bank over money laundering schemes that have been aiding North Korea's nuclear program and illegal activities in Azerbaijan, Russia and Ukraine.

"ABLV has institutionalized money laundering as a pillar of the bank's business practices," said the U.S. Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes, Sigal Mandelker. "In addition, ABLV has facilitated transactions for corrupt politically exposed persons and has funneled billions of dollars in public corruption and asset stripping proceeds through shell company accounts."

Following the FinCEN report, the Latvian financial watchdog, the Finance and Capital Market Commission, acting on the instructions from the European Central Bank (ECB), ordered ABLV Bank to stop all payments as of February 19.

Shareholders of ABLV Bank at an extraordinary meeting on March 26 made a decision to start the liquidation process in order to protect interests of its clients and creditors. The bank's management has rejected all the allegations made in the FinCEN report and is determined to refute them.

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