Investigation points to possible money laundering by cleaning company and Latvian bank

A newly-published investigation by the well-known Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) says a Latvian bank was used to launder significant amounts of money originating in Belarus.

Titled 'The cleaner and the laudromat', the investigation says investigators suspect the owner of cleaning business “Clean World,” which operates in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, of using the now-defunct ABLV bank to launder tens of millions of euros.

The company was set up by Belarusian citizen Eduard Apsit as a humble dry cleaning store in the 1990s, but it quickly expanded and Apsit's new-found wealth enabled him to buy a luxury beachfront property in the upscale Latvian beach resort, Jūrmala.

OCCRP says that "according to court documents unearthed by OCCRP partner Re:Baltica, Latvian financial investigators have frozen some 40 million euros ($42.8 million) they suspect Apsit of laundering through ABLV bank, which was one of Latvia’s largest lenders until it was shut down in 2018 for large-scale money laundering. Investigators froze another 33 million belonging to a Ukrainian man investigators believe is Apsit’s proxy."

ABLV created "a purpose-built money laundering scheme" — appropriately known as a “laundromat” — for the benefit of Apsit, which enabled him to move money through complex offshore schemes, according to Latvian investigators mentioned by OCCRP.

Such schemes were well-known in the Latvian boutique banking sector until recent years when the threat of being listed as an unsafe jurisdiction prompted the authorities in Latvia to clean up a banking sector which relied heavily on questionable cashflow from the east.

However, it should be noted that so far Apsit has not been charged with any crime and court hearings in Latvia continue.

You can read the full investigation at the OCCRP's website


Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Related articles


Most important