Friday

16th Nov 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.

Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline

Italy would be committing economic "suicide" if it fell in line with EU rules, its deputy leader has said, in a sign that Rome has little intention of bowing to pressure ahead of Tuesday's budget deadline.

News in Brief

  1. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  2. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May
  3. Denmark blocks Tanzania aid over homophobic crackdown
  4. Second UK cabinet minister resigns over Brexit deal
  5. UK Brexit secretary quits morning after deal agreed
  6. Romanian MPs call for national 'Magnitsky Act'
  7. Tusk: Brexit summit on Sunday 25 November
  8. Full text of Brexit withdrawal agreement published

Stakeholder

An open China brings opportunities to Europe

Some 60 years ago, the first major World Fair after World War II was held in Brussels. Sixty years on, China International Import Expo (CIIE), the first world expo dedicated to expanding imports, will open in Shanghai, China.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  2. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  3. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  4. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  5. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  6. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot
  7. How the 'EU's Bank' fails to raise the bar on accountability
  8. Knives out on all sides for draft Brexit deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  3. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  9. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  10. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us