ABLV Bank, the second largest bank in Latvia, said on February 14 it will cooperate with the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) over allegations that it was involved in illegal activity, some of it linked to North Korea.
The bank’s response follows FinCEN’s proposal from the previous day to ban ABLV Bank from the US financial system. According to FinCEN, the Latvian bank "proactively pushes money laundering and regulatory circumvention schemes to its client base”.
ABLV Bank’s illicit activity has also involved “transactions for parties involved in North Korea’s procurement or export of ballistic missiles”, FinCEN said.
Facing a ban in the US, ABLV Bank pledged cooperation with FinCEN and said it “strongly denounces the use of financial institutions in illegal actions, including money laundering, terrorism financing and circumventing sanctions”.
FinCEN’s allegations have prompted Latvian authorities to react as well. Latvia’s Corruption Prevention Bureau would launch an inquiry into the US allegations, it said on February 13.
Latvia has long been eyed as a haven for illegal money, especially stemming from Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union. The Baltic state has, however, undertaken a number of measures over the past couple of years in a bid to improve control over money flows through its banking system, especially the boutique banks specialising in non-resident services.
The European Central Bank governing council met in the Latvian capital Riga on June 14 with the host, the beleaguered governor of Latvijas Banka Ilmars Rimsevics, not attending. Rimsevics ... more
The Latvian financial market regulator FKTK has approved the self-liquidation of ABLV, the third largest Latvian bank that is closing down over allegations of money laundering, FKTK said on June 12. ... ... more
Latvia placed €350mn in new 10-year Eurobond offering on May 23 and tapped the outstanding series maturing in February 2047 for €300mn. The yield on the 10-year papers came in at 1.125%, while ... more