Bank employees arrested over Russian money laundering

Take note – story published 8 years ago

On Thursday evening the State Police's Economic Crime Prevention Department (ENAP) detained two employees of an unnamed Latvian private bank. They are suspected of laundering money from Russian sources, LSM's Latvian-language service reported Friday.

The police said several searches were carried out in the bank as well as the persons' homes.

The ENAP acted upon information that the two employees may have helped Russian clients launder money through a fictitious finance scheme.

Late on December 17 the investigators detained the two employees and searched their workplace and places of residence. A total of five searches were conducted throughout the night, during which the police seized computers and stacks of documents.

Proceedings have been started against the two employees over laundering illicitly-obtained funds in a large amount. The two can face up to 12 years in jail for this crime.

On Friday, FKTK said it was pleased with the ENAP arrests with FKTK chairman Kristaps Zakulis commenting: "Only by law enforcement agencies and the banking supervisor successfully cooperating, is it possible to reduce and prevent operations related to money laundering through the Latvian financial system."

In recent years FKTK has insisted Latvia does not have a problem with money laundering and until a week ago very few penalties - and very small ones - had been handed out linked to infractions of money laundering rules.

However, as reported by LSM, the last seven days have seen a frenzy of activity in the wake of media revelations about Latvia being linked to possible multi-million euro money laundering schemes involving countries including Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Belarus, France, Belgium, the United States and others.

The most notorious cases in which Latvian banks are believed to have played a part include the infamous Magnitsky case in Russia, the highly irregular sale of a Ukrainian oil rig and a billion dollars that disappeared from Moldova's state coffers.

On December 11 and 14 FKTK announced record-breaking €2m fines for the Latvian arm of Ukraine's PrivatBank after it was suspected of aiding and abetting money laundering.

Zakulis was himself given an extremely rough ride on December 15 by Saeima deputies demanding action to counter the damage being done to the reputation of Latvia's banking sector and the possibility that planned OECD membership might be postponed as a result.

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