ABLV criminal case confirmed over money-laundering suspicions

This past summer, the Latvian State Police opened a criminal case on possible money laundering schemes at ABLV Bank, which is currently undergoing a liquidation process.

Following a report by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury about ABLV Bank's involvement in international money laundering schemes, the State Police announced in February that it had started an inquiry.

On October 4, the State Police's spokeswoman Gita Gzibovska told the LETA newswire that the State Police's Economic Crime Unit on July 3 changed the status of the inquiry to a criminal case involving large-scale money laundering.

At the moment, no one has the status of suspect in the case.

As reported, the Finance and Capital Market Commission, acting on the instructions from the European Central Bank, ordered ABLV Bank to stop all payments as of February 19 following a report by FinCEN about ABLV Bank's involvement in international money laundering schemes and corruption. On February 24, the Finance and Capital Market Commission found an occurrence of unavailability of deposits at ABLV Bank.

Shareholders of ABLV Bank decided in February to start the liquidation process in order to protect interests of its clients and creditors. ABLV Bank believes that in this way it will be possible to ensure active protection of its customers, the bank said in a statement.

At the end of September 2017, ABLV Bank was the third largest bank in Latvia by assets. The bank's majority shareholders Olegs Fils, Ernests Bernis and Nika Berne own, directly and indirectly, 87.03 percent of the bank's share capital.

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