RIGA - The Supreme Court in France this January rejected Rietumu Banka’s complaint, and the decision on EUR 20 million fine for money laundering has come into force, said Latvian public television’s analytical news program De Facto, citing data from the bank’s annual report.
French businessman Nadav Benoussan and his company France Offshore helped clients to hide some of their income to avoid taxes. Benoussan established offshore companies and opened accounts for them in Rietumu Banka – about 300 accounts a year. Clients were issued bank cards, allowing them to withdraw money in France.
Some of these accounts were used in VAT fraud schemes.
Charges were pressed also against former bank’s president Aleksandrs Pankovs and Sergejs Scuks, the head of the Rietumu Banka representation in France.
The Supreme Court in Paris concluded that the money laundering would not have been possible without Rietumu Banka. The case materials showed evidence of at least EUR 200 million laundered through the bank.
In order to enforce the fine, France now has to turn to the Latvian Justice Ministry.
Rietumu Banka's main shareholders are Esterkin Family Investments (33.12 percent), Maltese company Boswell (International) Consulting Limited (33.11 percent), and Suharenko Family Investments (17.34 percent).