Police probe Yanukovych money laundering in Latvia

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The Latvian State Police's economic crime unit is investigating a possible money laundering scam that may have seen around $80m (€75m) linked to ex-Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych pass through Latvia.

State police spokesman Tom Sadovskis told LSM that based on information provided last year, police were investigating money laundering on a large scale, in the order of $80m.

"I can confirm that the money is believed to be linked to Viktor Yanukovych," Sadovskis said.

One of those who informed police about the alleged scheme, Viesturs Burkāns of the Money Laundering Prevention Service of the Latvian State Prosecutor, told LETA Ukrainian state money was stolen on a large scale by Yanukovych and his associates then laundered through countries including Latvia.

The accounts of several individuals had been frozen, Burkāns said, but neither he nor the financial regulator the Financial and Capital Markets Commission (FKTK) has named either the people involved or even the bank or banks suspected of channeling the money.

A FKTK spokesperson did however say that amount frozen in Latvian accounts as a result of EU sanctions against individuals linked to the Yanukovych regime and alleged crimes in Ukraine was around €18m.

Authorities in Kyiv suspect that more than €2 billion was stolen from state coffers during Yanukovych's notoriously corrupt hold on power.

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