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Latvian government backs new financial regulator, Saeima to have final say

The nominee candidate to become the head of Latvia's financial regulator received approval from the Latvian cabinet October 8 - albeit after a week's delay - though the final decision on whether she is confirmed in the job will rest with the Saeima, reported LTV.

Although there was no consensus in the government last week on the promotion of Citadele Bank board member Santa Purgaile to become the Chairwoman of the Financial and Capital Markets Commission (FKTK), objections raised by minister Jūris Pūce last week appeared to have evaporated without being fully articulated.

However Purgaile, who emerged as the best candidate from an open competition for the post, will have to await the decision of Saeima before she is confirmed in the post, which is of great importance with Latvia trying to shake off its reputation as a global money-laundering hib with a concerted crackdown on the banking sector.

Purgaile has been working for JSC Citadele banka since 2012, initially as Business Development Director and later, from 2017, as Corporate Customer Services Director. For seven years Purgaile was also a member of the Management Board of JSC Citadele banka. From 2009 to 2012, Purgaile headed SEB banka's private banking business in Latvia while before that she headed the Small and Medium Business Service Department.

Speaking to the press after the cabinet decision alongside Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, Purgaile said: "I am pleased that this important step has been taken," while underlinign that she would hope for "a positive result" when the matter goes to the vote in Saeima.

During the last two weeks, she said she had been speaking with politicians to outline her plans and priorities if confirmed as FKTK chief and would remain open to do so with "all party factions."

For his part, Kariņš said: "Today we can say our capital market overhaul is moving forward... for Latvia it is important to have a stable and predictable financial system... we need competent, strong and effective oversight... Clarity is the main thing the country needs."

Asked when Saeima might vote on Purgaile's appointment, Kariņš said that was a matter for Saeima but that he hoped Saeima might be is ready to look at the issue this week.


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