RIGA - The prosecutor's office has handed over to a court a criminal case in which several former high-ranking ABLV Bank employees are accused of laundering a total of EUR 2.1 billion, LETA learned on Thursday.
In the criminal case, a total of eight persons are accused of working together to launder large amounts of money, the prosecutor's office informed LETA.
During the pre-trial investigation, it was established that the group of eight persons created money laundering infrastructure that they used between May 1, 2010 and February 15, 2018 to legalize financial assets obtained by other persons abroad in the amount of no less than EUR 263,538,182 and USD 948,641,578.65 (EUR 1,912,737,857).
Five persons accused in the criminal case were high-ranking employees at ABLV Bank at the time. LETA has information that these persons are former co-owner of the bank Ernests Bernis, former vice-chairman of the board Vadims Reinfelds, as well as Aleksandrs Paze, Igors Rogovs and Kaspars Dreimanis.
The case will be reviewed by the Economic Affairs Court.
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.
At the end of September 2017, ABLV Bank was the third largest bank in Latvia by assets. The bank's majority shareholders Olegs Fils, Ernests Bernis and Nika Berne own, directly and indirectly, 87.03 percent of the bank's share capital.