Corruption Prevention Bureau fails to prove ABLV managers' involvement in corruption

  • 2021-04-14
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) has not found evidence of corruption on the part of ABLV Bank's managers, which has been alleged  by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), LETA learned. 

At the same time, KNAB has not managed to find evidence to corroborate ABLV manager's suspicions that former Bank of Latvia governor Ilmars Rimsevics had deliberately slandered the bank. 

KNAB confirmed to LETA that on March 26 the investigator in charge of the case decided to close the criminal probe that had been launched based on the FinCen's report and the supervising prosecutor approved the decision. 

In its report, the FinCen alleged that up to 2017, the ABLV managers had used bribery to influence Latvian officials when challenging enforcement actions and perceived threats to their high-risk business.

ABLV Bank denied the alleged bribing of Latvian officials and said that the allegations have done serious harm to the bank. The bank asked KNAB to open a criminal probe and investigate the allegation as the bank had no authority to disprove them.

KNAB informed LETA that after the closure of the probe it will not continue investigating ABLV Bank's management for possible involvement in bribing Latvian officials. 

KNAB had also been asked to probe suspicions of defamation targeting the bank but this investigation was also closed without finding evidence to confirm the suspicions. 

Without identifying the person, KNAB said that a public official had featured in the criminal probe. LETA has information that this official was Rimsevics.

As reported, the Finance and Capital Market Commission, acting on the instructions from the European Central Bank, ordered ABLV Bank to stop all payments as of February 19, 2018 following a report by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury about ABLV Bank's involvement in international money laundering schemes and corruption. On February 24, 2018 the Finance and Capital Market Commission found an occurrence of unavailability of deposits at ABLV Bank.

Shareholders of ABLV Bank decided in February 2018 to start the liquidation process in order to protect interests of its clients and creditors. ABLV Bank believes that in this way it will be possible to ensure active protection of its customers, the bank said in a statement.