FKTK: Non-resident deposits down €10b since tough-up against money laundering

About €10 billion in non-resident deposits have been moved out of Latvia since the country stepped up its fight against money laundering.

That's what Kristīne Černaja-Mežmale, the temporary head of Latvia's financial regulator, the Financial and Capital Markets Commission (FKTK), told Latvian Radio July 15. 

She was quick to add the money had left Latvia "in a controlled manner". An estimated €3.5 billion in foreign deposits remain on Latvian bank accounts.

Banks serving non-residents have changed business models in response, said Černaja-Mežmale. 

Černaja-Mežmale said her main task at the FKTK will be continuing reforms, including work on implementing the recommendations of Moneyval, a Council of Europe body which subjected Latvia to "follow-up procedures" concerning money laundering.

Latvia has negotiated an extension from July 31 to August 31 as the deadline of implementing these recommendations. 

July 15 is the first day at her new post for Černaja-Mežmale, who was earlier confirmed as a stand-in as the head of FKTK by the Saeima after previous financial regulator Peters Putniņš and his deputy stood down on July 4.

Speaking to Latvian Radio, Černaja-Mežmale was however evasive over her posible candidacy as the sitting head of FKTK.

Latvia has been seriously stepping up its anti-money laundering efforts since ABLV Bank, once Latvia's third largest lender, folded last spring after a damning report on the bank by the US Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. 

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