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Bank defends itself against money laundering claim

Latvia's Trasta Komercbanka on Wednesday defended itself against claims it was part of a massive money-laundering scheme, insisting all its procedures were in line with the law. 

 

The bank also played down the significance of a blanket withdrawal of its ratings by the Moody's rating agency, saying the move was in fact its own decision. 

In a statement to LSM, the bank said: "At the initiative of Trasta komercbanka the rating agency Moody's has withdrawn ratings advice for Trasta komercbanka. 

"The bank herewith would like to explain what constitute grounds for the publication of the brief statement released in London on October 10 by Moody's.

"The decision to temporarily discontinue the use of the services of the rating agency Moody's Investors Service was adopted by the bank and sent to the agency in May 2014. The reason for such a decision was the current situation in the international financial markets, which is not conducive to entry into the borrowing and syndicated lending markets."

The bank also denounced a report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) which LSM has reported in the past, saying "the name of the bank is adversely affected without a reasonable basis for it."

"The report published by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project [is] a biased publication, a jumble of distorted facts and speculations of journalists against the bank.

"The Joint Stock Company Trasta komercbanka has never ever received from the competent authorities any whatsoever notice, warning or decision showing that the bank is a participant in the events described in the published report."

"Trasta komercbanka operates in full compliance with the laws of the Republic of Latvia and the international banking standards, strictly observing all the requirements with respect to the combating of money laundering," the bank told LSM.

However, one of the report's authors, Paul Radu, said OCCRP stood by its claims that the bank was involved as part of a $20bn Russian money laundering scheme.

"Our reporting is based on hard work and it is fair. We asked Trasta Komercbanka to comment on the money transfers from Moldova but they declined to comment," Radu told LSM.

"I believe it is in the interest of the public for Trasta Komercbanka to explain what due dilligence they performed in the case of the transactions mentioned in our stories. We would be more than happy if they would provide us with an explanation of how these high volume money transfers took place," Radu said.

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