Lithuanian banks not mentioned in US law enforcement probes – parlt committee chairs

  • 2021-01-06
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuanian banks are not mentioned in the investigations being carried out by US institutions into money laundering via the Baltic branches of Scandinavian banks, the chairmen of Lithuania's parliamentary Committees on National Security and Defense and Budget and Finance says.

The two committees held a closed-door sitting on Wednesday to look into the situation around the investigations being carried out against Scandinavian banks operating in Lithuania. It was agreed to look for funds to invest into money laundering prevention and to ensure necessary infrastructure and human resources.

Representing the ruling conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, Laurynas Kasciunas, the CNSD chairman, says Lithuania is not mentioned in the probes but "a shadow is cast on everyone".

"The investigations are being carried out regarding banks operating in the other Baltic states, and a shadow is cast on all Baltic states. At this moment we can say that Lithuania is not mentioned there. But we, institutions and politicians, need to proactively communicate that Lithuania is not involved in this. Lithuania is not in the black hole," Kasciunsas told BNS.

Valius Azuolas, a member of the Committee on Budget and Finance, representing the opposition Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, says that politicians and state institutions agreed on "homework".

"To try and pre-empt the events. To take all measures for that shadow not to be cast on Lithuania in the future as well," Azuolas told BNS.

According to Mykolas Majauskas, chairman of the Committee on Budget and Finance, it is known that international money laundering operations were carried out via Scandinavian banks' branches in the Baltic states.

"Following preliminary inquiries, there's no information that the US investigation also covers operations carried out in Lithuania, but the investigation is ongoing," he told BNS.

He underlined that a money laundering shadows had been cast on the Baltic states' banking due to the investigation being carried out by US institutions, therefore, banks sometimes face difficulties when carrying out international operations in US dollars.

If Lithuania lost the status of a reliably country in the international financial sector, the country's banks and enterprises may be affected, Majauskas underlined.