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Regulator tight-lipped on massive money laundering claim

Latvia's financial regulator refused to give details Thursday on whether a Latvian bank is being investigated for its role in an alleged money-laundering operation of epic proportions.

Speaking to journalists at a briefing on a different subject Thursday Kristaps Zakulis, head of the Financial and Capital Markets Commission (FKTK) responded to questions about the alleged fraud saying legal restrictions prevented him saying what, if any, investigations were taking place to establish if the allegations were true.

"We monitor such attempts and try to detect them. Banks exchange their experiences about individuals and schemes as well," said Zakulis, according to the BNS news wire, adding that in effect banks were themselves responsible for reporting suspicions of crime.

"The system requires the bank to do it. We make sure that the bank does what the system requires. I will give no more comments because the law forbids me to disclose certain things," Zakulis said.

As reported by LSM August 25, an investigative journalism report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) implicates Latvia's relatively small Trasta Komercbanka boutique bank in a vast 20-billion-euro money Russian money-laundering scheme that involves Moldovan businesses, UK offshore companies and the Latvian bank as a 'gateway' bringing the money into the EU banking system.

Trasta is no stranger to controversy having in the past been alleged to have laundered money in the case that led to the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and another series of deals involving individuals linked to former Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovich

The bank has refused to comment on the latest allegations.

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