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Latvia Central Bank Head Has Been Detained

Latvia Central Bank Head Has Been Detained”

Latvia's prime minister called on the head of the country's central bank to stand aside as the state's own anti-corruption office pursued an investigation against the central bank governor.

"I have taken the decision not to resign", Bank of Latvia Governor Ilmars Rimsevics said on February 20. "I think at this point it would be sensible for Mr. Rimsevics to withdraw, at least during course of investigation", settled.

Rimsevics was detained over the weekend and held for more than 48 hours as Latvia's anti-corruption agency raided his home and offices at the Bank of Latvia.

Kucinskis also said he and other officials had no reason to interfere with the anti-corruption agency's work.

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FinCEN also said in its report that the management of ABLV Bank used bribery to influence Latvian officials when challenging enforcement actions and perceived threats to their high-risk business. One bank, ABLV, has already needed a rescue loan from the central bank to remain afloat.

The head of the Latvian central bank returned to Riga from a foreign trip on Saturday evening and was driven by his lawyer to the Corruption Prevention Bureau's office where he was interrogated for almost eight hours.

Most major banks stopped offering "Correspondent Banking" services - where a large global bank clears the foreign currency transactions of smaller banks through major financial centres - for Latvian banks years ago.

Meanwhile, ABLV, Latvia's third largest bank, stands accused by the US Treasury of widespread money-laundering.

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Rimsevics said the banks wanted to see him replaced with someone more compliant.

A Bank of Latvia spokesman said deputy governor Zoja Razmusa would attend a non-policy ECB meeting on Wednesday.

"Estonian banks are not substantially connected to ABLV". Then why would commercial banks try to attack him? "In recent days, there has been a sharp deterioration of the bank's financial position". Her ministry has changed its borrowing strategy and will refrain from refinancing operations in the near term, she said, adding that Latvia asked the U.S. Treasury to discuss and share data on the ABLV.

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