Latvia corruption agency searches governor's home, office


Ilmars Rimsevics, the governor of the Latvijas Banka, was detained by the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau of Latvia (KNAB), although the body did not give details of any allegations.

Rimsevics' lawyer, Saulvedis Varpins, told Latvian state television that the governor had been detained at 6.15 p.m. (1615 GMT) on Saturday after he arrived for questioning at the offices of the anti-corruption agency.

"So in his case, of course, I think that he should himself (resign)".

The KNAB, the Bank of Latvia, and the European Central Bank declined to comment on Kucinskis's detention.

The head of Latvia's central bank has been released from police custody on bail as investigators seek to determine whether or not he solicited a bribe. It loaned ABLV €97.5 million on Monday.

The anti-corruption agency says the criminal investigation is not related to money-laundering accusations levelled against the country's third largest bank, ABLV, by the US Treasury.

The confusing, rival claims of wrongdoing will deepen worries about the transparency of parts of Latvia's banking sector, which have close financial links to former colonial master Russian Federation.

2010 obtained by The Associated Press shows Ilmars Rimsevics the head of Latvia's central bank second left in blue and Dmitry Pilshchikov at 3rd left who was then the head of the Russian arms company Research Institute of In
Latvian central bank head Ilmars Rimsevics released on bail

On the background of this raid, Latvia's Prime Minister, Maris Kucinskis, called an emergency cabinet meeting. He denies having demanded a $120,000 (£85,000) bribe.

US allegations that a leading bank engaged in money laundering and helped breach North Korean sanctions have also turned a spotlight on Latvia's financial system in recent days.

He explained that both he and finance minister, Dana Reizniece-Ozola, are closely following case and Monday morning an extraordinary Council of Ministers will be held to discuss situation of Latvian banking system.

"We don't participate in any illegal activities", ABLV Bank Deputy CEO Vadims Reinfelds told a news conference.

That followed statements from the Financial and Capital Market Commission in Riga and the European Central Bank, which issued statements that they would limit debit transactions from the lender.

ABLV Bank said it will make every effort to disprove the allegations. The bank denies the allegations.

Rimsevics accused a group of banks of trying to undermine him, deceiving law enforcement and regulators. Five Latvian banks, including ABLV, agreed past year to record fines for failing to perform adequate due diligence and gather sufficient information on transactions and beneficiaries of deals linked to North Korea.

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