"A large trove of documents has been leaked, revealing global transactions, including those flowing through Latvia, that the US based banks flagged as suspicious to its supervisor. The documents expose that the US banks eyed with suspicion transactions totalling at least $7.6 billions wired through Latvian banks between 2006 and 2017, Re:Baltica’s year-long investigation found," the report begins -- but that is just the starting point for a series of revelations with some of the most eye-catching involving Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska's numerous business links to Latvia.
According to Re:Baltica, Deripaska made extensive use of accounts at Expobank, one of Latvia's smallest and least-known banks, allegedly moving 3 billion dollars through the financial institution.
Other high-profile names including Roman Abramovich, Dmytro Firtash, Viktor Yanukovich and Paul Manafort also make appearances in the investigation.
"The leaked documents clearly demonstrate that the US based banks and FinCEN considered Latvia a high-risk jurisdiction, and regularly reported on suspicious transactions which flowed through banks such as BlueOrange Bank (previously Baltikums Bank), Expobank (previously LTB Bank and Latvian Trade Bank), Industra Bank (previously Meridian Trade Bank and SMP Bank), Regional Investment Bank, Rietumu Bank, Rigensis Bank, as well as banks in liquidation – ABLV Bank (previously known as Aizkraukles banka), PNB bank (previously Norvik Banka and Lateko Banka), and Trasta Komercbanka," Re:Baltica says.
As previously reported numerous times by LSM, Latvia has in recent years upped its anti-money laundering efforts after years of denying there was even a serious problem as dirty cash, mainly from the East, sustained its profitable boutique banks.
The full Re:Baltica reports can be read online in English and Latvian.