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Bank of Latvia governor's security clearance for access to state secrets annulled

BC, Riga, 29.05.2018.Print version
The Constitution Protection Bureau has annulled the security clearance for access to state secrets held by Bank of Latvia Governor Ilmars Rimsevics, who is being investigated on suspicions of bribery.

Rimsevics' lawyer Saulvedis Varpins told LETA that his client's security clearance had been annulled.

The Constitution Protection Bureau confirmed to LETA that they had completed the probe regarding further security clearance for Rimsevics but would not comment on their decision, saying that it was up to Rimsevics himself to give comments, if any.

Varpins said that the security clearance for Rimsevics had been annulled last weekend and in a hurry which he said was not surprising in the given situation.

The lawyer said they had asked the Constitution Protection Bureau to wait with its decision by July 1 when new legislative amendments will take effect and persons, whose security clearance has been annulled, will have the option of contesting the decision before the regional administrative court, but their request had been ignored.

Varpins said it was probably because the European Court of Justice reportedly might decide on May 30 on the interim measures concerning the decision by the Latvian Corruption Prevention Bureau to ban Rimsevics from performing his duties as a member of the Council of the European Central Bank (ECB)

"Most probably, the Latvian state lacks arguments to substantiate those restrictions on Rimsevics, hence the attempted manipulations with the security clearance," the lawyer said.

He said that, as Rimsevics was not allowed to perform his duties as the head of the Latvian central bank, putting off the decision on his security clearance until July 1 would not result in any threat to the national security but his human rights would be observed in that he would be able to contest the annulment of his security clearance before the court.

"Rimsevics is confident he has not done anything that might compromise his ability to keep state secrets. He does not think that the explanation provided by the Constitution Protection Bureau about the reasons for annulling the security clearance is supported by facts," Varpins said.

He added that the picture published in February was not the reason why Rimsevics' security clearance had been annulled but declined detailed comments. The picture allegedly shows Rimsevics on a hunting trip to Russia together with the head of a Russian military company.

As reported, the Latvian Corruption Prevention Bureau has started a criminal proceeding against Bank of Latvia Governor Ilmars Rimsevics, who is suspected of having solicited and accepted a bribe of at least EUR 100,000. Rimsevics insists he is innocent and therefore will not step down as the head of the Latvian central bank. He said that the accusations against him was a retaliatory action from ABLV Bank and other banks serving non-residents.

For the duration of the investigation, Rimsevics has been banned from performing his responsibilities as the head of the Latvian central bank, from leaving Latvia and from contacts with certain individuals.

Rimsevics has lodged a complaint with the European Court of Justice over he restrictions that prevent him from performing the duties of a member of the ECB Council. He claims the restrictions had been imposed on him unlawfully.

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