Friend or foe? Pressure piles onto Latvian financial regulator

The head of Latvia's financial regulator, the Financial and Capital Market Commission is the subject of an extremely critical new story by Re:Baltica, the Baltic Center for Investigative Journalism.

Titled In the shadows of ABLV: from regulator to a friend, the story focuses on Peters Putniņš, chairman of the Financial and Capital Market Commission (FKTK), which regulates Latvia's banking sector.

While Latvia has been scrambling to turn around the reputation the sector earned over more than a decade as a conduit for dirty money and an enabler of sanctions-busting behavior, Putniņš has been part of the overall picture since taking over at FKTK in 2016.

Yet despite making some progress, especially compared to his predecessors, Re:Baltica writer Sanita Jemberga paints a picture of a man who appears to have lost the confidence of several important officials including former Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola and, perhaps more importantly, key figures within the U.S. Department of Treasury's anti- money laundering department.

The piece also paints an extraordinary picture of infighting at FKTK between Putniņš and his deputy Gunta Razāne and claims Putniņš offered his resignation last year, only to have it rejected by then-Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis.

However, in recent weeks FKTK has issued several statements underling the progress it says has been made in cleaning up the financial sector with Putniņš only this week declaring the non-resident banking sector had been completely turned around.

The full investigation is available to read online.

In a further development, the U.S. embassy in Rīga rejected a claim made in the piece by Putniņš that it had failed to pass on information supplied by FKTK to the relevant authorities in the United States.

Reporter Sanita Jemberga, who wrote the story, posted a strong statement from the embassy on social media in which Putniņš' claim was described as "false" and "misleading".

 

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