Latvia’s anti-corruption bureau seeks charges against central bank governor Rimsevics

Latvia’s anti-corruption bureau seeks charges against central bank governor Rimsevics
By bne IntelliNews June 19, 2018

The Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) has asked the prosecutor’s office to press charges against the currently suspended governor of Latvijas Banka Ilmars Rimsevics for alleged corruption, KNAB said on June 18.

KNAB did not mention Rimsevics by name, saying in an official statement that the request concerns “a top-level public official of the Central Bank of Latvia” as well as a “natural person,” which is believed to be businessman Maris Martinsons, according to Latvian state television LTV.

The investigation centres on “alleged solicitation and acceptance of a bribe by a public official,” KNAB said. The alleged amount of a bribe is over €100,000, it added.

KNAB also suggested that the “top official” and the “natural person” were somehow involved in dealings of the compromised Trasta Komercbanka, which went under in 2016 in effect of money laundering charges. According to an infographic presented by KNAB, money flowed from Trasta Komercbanka via the alleged individual to the official.

Latvijas Banka suspended Rimsevics upon the start of the investigation in February, causing confusion at the European Central Bank, where he is a board member because of Latvia’s membership in the Eurozone.

The ECB has asked the European Union's top court to rule on whether measures against Rimsevics are in line with EU law. A recent meeting of the ECB in the Latvian capital Riga took place without Rimsevics.

Rimsevics denies any wrongdoing and has refused top Latvian politicians’ calls to step down.

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