Officials knew about money laundering, MP claims

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Long-term, large-scale money laundering in Latvia could not have happened without the knowledge of state officials, banker turned politician Martins Bondars claimed on Latvian TV Friday morning.

"In Latvia for a long time there has been money laundering on a large scale. And talking to industry representatives, they very clearly indicate that it would not have been possible without the involvement of officials," said the Latvia's Regional Alliance leader, who once chaired the now-liquidated Latvijas Krajbanka.

Bondars claimed that he is aware of officials who have promoted or turned a blind eye to such illegal activities. He refrained to mention the names of the officials but made it clear money laundering has been a major problem for a period of years.

Saeima on Thursday, March 31, in the first reading approved amendments to several laws, which are intended to strengthen the fight against money laundering.

The laws would give the financial regulator, the Financial and Capital Markets Commission (FKTK) increased powers, as well as increase bank employees' responsibility for participation in money laundering.

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