News ID: 210248
Published: 0634 GMT February 18, 2018

Latvia’s central bank chief arrested amid corruption suspicions

Latvia’s central bank chief arrested amid corruption suspicions

The governor of Latvia’s central bank has been detained and urged to resign amid allegations of corruption which has yet to be publicized by the authorities.

Governor Ilmars Rimsevics was detained Sunday at the offices of the anti-corruption agency after he arrived there for a questioning, his lawyer, Saulvedis Varpins, said.

Authorities have yet to declare why they have detained Rimsevics, also a member of the European Central Bank’s interest rate-setting Governing Council.

However, Latvia’s Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola called on Rimsevics to resign to help the Baltic country save its reputation of being an economically-successful country.

“Given that the governor of the central bank is a symbol for every country, I think that it would be sensible at this moment that Mr. Rimsevics, at least during the investigation, steps down,” said Reizniece-Ozola, without giving details about the ongoing probe.

Latvia’s Economics Minister Arvils Aseradens also urged Rimsevics to resign.

Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis said Rimsevics’ detention would not harm Latvia’s economy and its financial system.

Varpins, the lawyer, said the detention was unlawful. But he would not comment on what the investigation was about.

“A complaint is being prepared at the moment,” said Varpins, adding that he had no information whether Rimsevics would be released from custody.

Latvia, a former Soviet state and a current EU member, adopted the euro since January 2014 when Rimsevics became a member of the ECB’s Governing Council. The country has made significant economic progress over the past years with growth standing at 4.5 percent in 2017 and set to be around four this year.

Some say the ongoing government investigation into Rimsevics may be linked to a probe in the US Treasury Department, which accuses the third largest financial institution in Latvia, ABLV Bank, of having institutionalized money laundering.

 

 

   
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