Latvian police track down source of devaluation rumors

  • 2007-03-23
  • From wire reports
Latvian Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis said law enforcement authorities have tracked down the person who sent out the first text message on the possible devaluation of the lat last month.

The rumors came in the wake of a Feb. 10 article in Diena wherein economist Morten Hansen from the Stockholm School of Economics warned of the possible necessity of a devaluation at a later date, if the current economic situation were not corrected.

The text message rumors created havoc on the currency markets, sent shares of Svedbank tumbling and resulted in political turmoil, with both the government and the Bank of Latvia forced to take the defensive.

Bank of Latvia president Ilmars Rimsevics had said earlier that the rumors on the possible devaluation of the lat had been intentionally launched on a Friday evening, ahead of the weekend, when the financial markets are closed and the banks are open for just half a day. In Rimsevics' words, currency exchangers might benefit from such a fuss in the public.

Speaking about the criminal investigation, the prime minister declined to comment on details, saying that "the investigation is still on, and the operational information should not be revealed."