Potential buyer found for Latvia's ABLV bank subsidiary

Latvia's ABLV bank, which is currently undergoing a liquidation process in the wake of allegations of massive money-laundering, has found a buyer for its Luxembourg subsidiary, the bank announced January 16.

"On 8 January 2019 ABLV Bank, AS in liquidation and Duet Group Limited have entered into [a] share purchase agreement to acquire 100% of the shares of ABLV Bank Luxembourg, S. A," a statement said. No price was mentioned.

The acquisition is subject to the approval by the Luxembourg regulatior, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier, and by the European Central Bank. Duet intends to submit the formal request for the change of control in the coming weeks, the release said.

"Given Duet’s interest in the current services of the Bank and its willingness to expand its operation in the future, the parties are determined to complete the transaction as soon as possible," the statement added.

On 10th October 2018, the Luxembourg Commercial Court extended the suspension-of-payments regime of the Bank for additional four months to allow sufficient time to conclude negotiations with potential investors.

"If necessary, another request to the Luxembourg Commercial Court for prolongation of the suspension-of-payments regime will be introduced in order to allow for all stakeholders to be protected while Duet’s acquisition is considered, with protection of existing depositors as the primary objective," ABLV said.

As previously reported by LSM, Latvia's financial regulator, the Financial and Capital Market Commission (FKTK) announced on June 12, 2018 it had decided to allow ABLV bank to undergo a process of self-liquidation.

ABLV collapsed after being accused of institutionalized money laundering on a huge scale by U.S. financial authorities. The bank denied the allegations. It has been a swift fall from favor for what was Latvia's third-largest bank and largest domestically-owned bank.

The bank also has various other assets for sale including its computers, printers and monitors as a job lot.

Even as the money-laundering allegations unfolded, ABLV was at pains to point out that its Luxembourg bank "has always had an extremely strong liquidity and a capital adequacy ratio, far above the regulatory requirements. The liquidity of the Luxembourg bank fully covers the amount of its clients’ deposits; however, some key Luxembourg counterparties have decided to block ABLV Bank Luxembourg, S.A. USD accounts without any legal ground."

 

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