Embattled Latvian central banker nominates stand-in

Bank of Latvia President Ilmārs Rimšēvičs has appointed his deputy Zoja Razmusa as his proxy to represent him on the European Central Bank (ECB) Council, the Latvian central bank’s spokesman Janis Silakalns told the LETA newswire September 10.

He said that in this new capacity Razmusa will take part in the ECB Council meeting, scheduled to take place on September 12 and 13 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Silakalns indicated that Razmusa had already participated in several previous ECB Council meetings but without voting rights.

As previously reported, the Prosecutor General's office has revised security measures imposed on the Bank of Latvia Governor Rimšēvičs, who has been accused of taking bribes, so that he can appoint a deputy to work on the European Central Bank's Council in his stead.

The EU Court of Justice reviewed the ECB's petition seeking a temporary solution, so the Latvian authorities would permit Rimšēvičs to perform his duties on the ECB Council, or let him appoint a proxy to work on the ECB Council in his place.

The Corruption Prevention and Combatting Bureau (KNAB) has started a criminal proceeding against Rimšēvičs, who is suspected of having solicited and accepted a bribe of at least EUR 100,000.

Rimšēvičs insists he is innocent and has refused to step down as the head of the Latvian central bank pending an expected court case later this year.

For the duration of the investigation, Rimšēvičs has been banned from performing his responsibilities as the head of the Latvian central bank, from leaving Latvia and from contacts with certain individuals. However, he remains a member of the ECB's governing council.

Rimšēvičs has lodged a complaint with the European Court of Justice over the restrictions that prevent him from performing the duties of a member of the European Central Bank's Council. He claims the restrictions had been imposed on him unlawfully.

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