Latvia fines Baltic International Bank over anti-money laundering controls


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RIGA, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Latvia’s financial watchdog said on Friday it had fined Baltic International Bank 1.56 million euros ($1.72 million) for lax anti-money laundering controls.

The Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) said in a statement that a review of the country’s eighth-biggest bank had shown it did not have an adequate control system for the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing.

The bank, which has mainly been serving non-resident clients but now says it is shifting towards investment banking in the Baltics, will most likely appeal the decision, its chief executive Viktors Bolbats told Reuters.

“Baltic International Bank considers the administrative fine imposed by the FCMC as disproportionate,” a spokeswoman said.

It is the latest in a string fines on Latvian banks by the FCMC as Latvia tries to clean up its financial sector after several scandals, including the closure of ABLV last year after U.S. authorities accused it of money laundering.

Latvia will next year undergo a review by Moneyval, the money laundering and terrorism financing monitoring body of the Council of Europe.

Meanwhile, Latvia’s central bank governor Ilmars Rimsevics is accused of bribery in the first corruption trial of a European Central Bank governor.

Rimsevics has denied any wrongdoing. ($1 = 0.9073 euros) (Reporting by Gederts Gelzis, writing by Anna Ringstrom, editing by Alexander Smith)


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