Thursday

16th Aug 2018

Bank of Latvia sends deputy to ECB amid bribery probe

  • The European Central Bank's governing council is meeting on Wednesday in Frankfurt (Photo: ECB/Flickr)

The Bank of Latvia has sent its deputy governor to the governing council meeting of the European Central Bank (ECB) on Wednesday (21 February), as the bank's governor is being investigated on charges of bribery.

A spokesman of the Bank of Latvia told EUobserver on Wednesday that it will be represented by deputy governor Zoja Razmusa.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Latvia's central bank governor Ilmars Rimsevics in 2014, when his country joined the euro (Photo: European Commission)

"I think she should already be in Frankfurt now," he noted.

Normally, the ECB meeting is attended by the Bank of Latvia's governor, Ilmars Rimsevics.

However, over the weekend the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau of Latvia (KNAB) detained Rimsevics for 48 hours. He is currently out on bail but not allowed to leave the country.

The KNAB is investigating "alleged solicitation and acceptance of a bribe by a public official" – Rimsevics. According to the fraudbusters the alleged amount of the bribe was "not less than €100,000".

"After the detention one of security measures that shall be applied is a prohibition to continue to perform person's previous duties," the KNAB said in a statement on Monday.

It followed a press statement released by the Bank of Latvia on Sunday, noting that the country's central bank "continues its business as usual".

The central bank said it could not comment on the investigation, but said it would cooperate fully with the probe.

"[The Bank of Latvia] would like to stress that in our work we follow a zero tolerance policy in respect of corruption and other illicit activities and, as in the past, we will continue to ensure all possible assistance to law enforcement authorities in order to facilitate a quicker clarification of the current situation," it said.

'I'm not guilty'

Rimsevics denied any wrongdoing at a press conference on Tuesday (20 February).

"I have not demanded or received any bribes," he told press.

Rimsevics said he would remain at his post.

"At the moment, I've taken the decision not to step down, because I'm not guilty," he said in a press conference on Tuesday.

"I have become the target of some Latvian commercial banks, to destroy Latvia's reputation," he added.

'Nightmare'

On Tuesday, the Associated Press ran a story in which one of Latvia's banks, the Norvik Bank, accused Rimsevics of demanding bribes.

Norvik Bank's chairman Grigory Guselnikov told the AP that Rimsevics had told the bank to "cooperate", handing a piece of paper with "100,000 per month" written on it.

"It was a nightmare for me for years," Guselnikov was quoted as saying.

"You can't understand how to get out of this dirty environment without reputation damage. That is why I decided to go out publicly and legally with my case," he said.

Smear campaign?

While Rimsevics is now facing political calls to step down, Latvia's prime minister Maris Kucinskis said on Tuesday that the Norvik Bank accusations could be an attempt to "disrupt the reputation of the Latvian state".

"There is reason to think that this is more likely Norvik Bank's and Mr Guselnikov's attempt to harm the state's image," said the centre-right prime minister.

Meanwhile, ECB chief Mario Draghi has not commented on the case, and the European Commission also limited its contribution to a single quote.

"We consider, as far as the governor is concerned, that this is a matter for national enforcement authorities, and we have no further comment," said commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas on Monday.

Spain's De Guindos to be ECB vice-president

Spanish finance minister Luis de Guindos will join the the European Central Bank in June, after his sole rival for the vice-presidency job stepped down on Monday.

ECB withheld information on 'flawed' bank supervision

The European Central Bank refused to provide important evidence when the Court of Auditors examined its management of the banking crisis. A court report said the system was substantial but had "flaws".

Investigation

The ECB: EU's 'bad bank' (for its employees)

An internal report finds 'lack of staff' and high 'burnout' levels at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt - the bank trusted with keeping the eurozone stable and secure.

EU and US kiss and make up on trade

The US will not impose tariffs on EU cars and might take back ones on steel and aluminium, according to a magical Trump-Juncker deal.

News in Brief

  1. Salvini questions EU 'constraints' after bridge collapse
  2. Bosnian Serbs to rewrite 1995 Srebrenica genocide report
  3. Malta to allow Aquarius migrants to disembark
  4. Juncker sends condolences over Genoa bridge collapse
  5. EU pledges €500,000 more for Indonesian earthquake island
  6. EU commission in talks with states on new Aquarius migrants
  7. Man held after car crashes into UK parliament security barrier
  8. Brexit delays better readability of medicines' instructions

Opinion

Has the time finally come for 'European champions'?

Since Emmanuel Macron took the French presidency in 2017, the concept of consolidating European industries to create continental 'champions', capable of competing on a global scale, has been revived.

EU 'tax lady' hits Google with record fine

Margrethe Vestager has fined the US tech giant with €4.34bn for abusing its market dominance in mobile operating systems - but assured US president Donald Trump that it is not because she does not like America.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  2. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  3. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  4. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  5. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  6. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  8. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  12. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma

Latest News

  1. US trial sheds light on murky Cyprus-Russia links
  2. Burned cars fuel Swedish election debate
  3. EU court to hear citizens' climate case against EU
  4. How long can Bulgaria keep facing both East and West?
  5. EU commission steps up legal case against Poland
  6. Separation of powers instead of 'Spitzenkandidat' process
  7. Revealed: ExxonMobil's private dinner with Cyprus' top EU brass
  8. What Salvini teaches us about Operation Sophia

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  4. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  6. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development
  8. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank
  9. FIFARecycling at the FIFA World Cup in Russia
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  11. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and Reconciliation Is a Process That Takes Decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  12. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us