Latvian finance minister says central bank chief should step down during investigation

Pauline Gross
February 19, 2018

The Latvian prime minister's office says the country's anticorruption agency has detained the central bank's governor, Ilmars Rimsevics.

Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis called an emergency cabinet meeting for Monday, sayng there are "no signs" of threat to the Latvian financial system.

"Each day that Mr. Rimsevics remains in the central bank's leadership significantly worsens" the situation, Reizniece-Ozola said. "I think at this point it would be sensible for Mr. Rimsevics to withdraw, at least during course of investigation", settled. Rimsevices was detained by the KNAB Saturday evening and questioned for about seven hours before being taken to another location at about 1:30am Sunday, said a BNS journalist at the scene. Rimsevics's lawyer, Saulvedis Varpins, said that Latvia's chief monetary officer considered his arrest "clearly illegal", according to Leta news service quoted by Bloomberg.

The anti-corruption watchdog declined to comment on Sunday but said it would hold a press conference at 1100 GMT on Monday.

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The Latvian central bank is an independent institution and Rimsevics has been its head since 2001.

The KNAB, the Bank of Latvia, and the European Central Bank declined to comment on Kucinskis's detention.

Latvia is a member of the European Union and uses the euro as its currency.

The governor's home and office were searched on Friday, Latvian media reported. It has been accused of acting as a money laundering funnel for Russian capital. ABLV said in a statement in response on Tuesday that FinCen had referred to unfounded and misleading information about the bank.

Other reports by GizPress

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