Rimšēvičs' immunity waived by EU Court of Justice

Ilmārs Rimšēvičs, former governor of the Bank of Latvia against whom lengthy criminal proceedings are being brought, had his immunity as a member of the European Central Bank council waived, according to the judgment delivered by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) Tuesday November 30.

In accordance with the judgment, "where a criminal authority finds that the conduct investigated by it of a governor of a central bank of a Member State was manifestly not committed by that governor in his or her official capacity, proceedings against him or her may be continued since immunity from legal proceedings does not apply."

"Acts of fraud, corruption or money laundering are thus not carried out by such a governor in his or her official capacity", the judgment states.

Riga District Court in Jūrmala previously suspended the proceedings in order to address a number of preliminary questions related to the criminal immunity of Rimsevics as a member of the Governing Council of the ECB. The Court asked for answers as to whether, in the case of the head of the national central bank, which is also a member of the Governing Council, criminal proceedings may be carried out at Member State level or contrary to the immunity provided for by ECB law.

Rimšēvičs has been accused of accepting bribes from the shareholders of Trasta komercbanka, which has been shut down by regulators. As reported at the time by LSM, Rimšēvičs' detention by anti-corruption officers in 2018 caused an international sensation. He refused to step down from his position and has consistently denied his guilt.

 

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