Two Latvian banks placed under anti-laundering monitoring

  • 2006-01-11
  • From wire reports
RIGA - The Finance and Capital Markets Commission announced that it placed two banks under monitoring late last year, as the banks had failed to comply with anti-money laundering requirements.

The commission said that the number of banks placed under monitoring for failing to meet anti-money laundering requirements decreased significantly last year, as in 2004 the watchdog had kept an eye on 13 banks.

In the commission's words, this suggests that "significant improvements have been achieved, and that generally Latvian banks have developed a system that meets the standards of the best international practice in order to reduce the possibility to use Latvian banks for legalizing proceeds from criminal activities and funding terrorism."

Last year the commission imposed 5,000 to 30,000 lat (7,100 's 42,700 euro) fines on three banks for shortcomings in money laundering prevention, especially for flaws in their internal security systems. Officials from the commission said that in some cases flaws have been found in the control of business deals of several mutually linked clients. The bank watchdog said that banks had insufficient information about the origin of their clients' money.

In 2005, the number of suspicious bank transactions that went unreported to the Latvian Prosecutor General's Office Control Service decreased to 23 from 103 in 2004.