Banker: "Nightmare" dodging extortion attempts in Latvia

Глава центрального банка Латвии Илмар Римшевич

Latvia's Prime Minister, Maris Kucinskis, has chaired an emergency cabinet meeting amid the turmoil.

Latvia's central bank chief was suspended on Tuesday pending an investigation into whether he solicited a bribe, as corruption allegations rocked the financial sector in the Baltic country, a euro zone member with close ties to neighbouring Russian Federation.

Mr Rimsevics was detained on Saturday and released two days later on bail.

Speaking of the main priorities of ABLV Bank, the work is mainly focused on attempts to regain access to the bank's funds.

European banks know that violating United States sanctions hurts, paying billions of dollars in fines for providing countries like Iran and Sudan access to the U.S. financial system.

Last week the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Department of Treasury 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.

The photo has caused debate within Latvia, a country that has been trying to distance itself from its much larger neighbour, Russia, by joining Western institutions like the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

The AP confirmed the date of the photo - August 22, 2010 - from data attached to the original file, which gets scrubbed off upon publication.

Mr Rimsevics said he did go on a fishing trip in the Russian region of Kamchatka in 2010, but that he does not know anybody in the photo and that the picture was likely tampered with.

What is particularly striking about the accusations against Mr Rimsevics is that they come from another Latvian bank, Norvik, which is controlled by the Russian businessman Grigory Guselnikov.

Rimsevics acknowledged knowing the middleman Guselnikov mentioned, Renars Kokins, but said he had met him only once with Guselnikov. The Kremlin could not be reached for comment late on Tuesday and the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said it was unable to comment at this time. The measure, a first for the ECB, was necessary to stabilise outflows after a "significant deterioration of bank's financial position". Then why would commercial banks try to attack him? He told Guselnikov he could help him because the nation's financial regulator was loyal to him personally. When it comes to the alleged misconduct, anti-money laundering issues are dealt with by national authorities, but the decision on whether to withdraw a bank's license ultimately lies with the ECB.

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