Finance Minister in U.S. to update on Latvia's money-laundering clampdown

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From 17 to 22 April, Latvia's Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola is attending the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Summit in Washington D.C., the ministry said April 17. 

During the visit, the Minister will also have several important meetings with representatives of the US Department of Treasury, the OECD Secretary General, Finance Ministers of other countries and investment banks.

A visit to the Treasury's Marshall Billingslea is also scheduled to take place. Billingslea was himself recently in Riga, as previously reported by LSM, to monitor Latvia's current frantic efforts to clean up its banking sector and introduce legislation designed to prevent the use of Latvian banks as major players in international money-laundering schemes.

On April 17, a Saeima committee was considering new legislation proposed by the Finance Ministry that is intended to stop banks having 'shell companies' among their clients. Such companies have long been used as part of money-laundering networks. The Saeima itself could give a first reading to the new laws within weeks.

Latvian Radio's Madara Fridrihsone reported just after midday that lawmakers had approved the proposals to get the legislative process moving with a first reading this week and second reading possible as soon as next week.

The shut-down of Latvia's third largest bank, ABLV, following its blacklisting by US authorities and the threat of more to come unless serious measures are taken, has shaken officials and bankers into action after a decade of high-profile money-laundering scandals involving Latvian banks.



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