Latvian tax authority launches case against cash-carrying Russian citizen

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Latvia's tax authority, the State Revenue Service (VID) said November 13 it had launched criminal proceedings for large scale money laundering against an unnamed Russian citizen.

"Based on information obtained through risk analysis, a Russian citizen born in 1986 who was about to fly to Russia was apprehended at Rīga airport in early November this year carrying more than $240,000 in cash... In the course of investigative activities in several Latvian banks, searches were carried out on bank safes registered with the person, which resulted in the recovery of approximately $1.5 million in cash," VID said.

Further investigations in turn led the State Revenue Service Tax and Customs Police Department to launch legal proceedings under Criminal Law Section 195 allegeing that the Russian Federation citizen commited money laundering during the period from 2015 to 2019, involving the legalization of the proceeds of crime worth $2.3 million.

The individual is identified as a suspect and is subject to non-custodial measures.

Neither the individual nor the banks at which he held accounts were named and pursuant to Article 19 of the Criminal Procedure Law, VID said that no person shall be held guilty until found guilty of a criminal offense.

VID further said that:

"The fight against money laundering, including restricting the transfer of illegally acquired cash across the state border of the Republic of Latvia, is one of VID's priorities."

So far this year 38 criminal proceedings were initiated for non-declaration or false declaration of cash, as a result of which around 5 million euros have been recovered.

According to the law, money laundering on a large scale or by an organized group, is punishable by imprisonment of three to twelve years, with or without confiscation of property.

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