Since the establishment of stricter requirements, the volume of services provided to non-residents in Latvian banks has been declining slowly, as noted by President of Association of Latvian Commercial Banks Martins Bicevskis.
In his interview to 900 seconds programme of LNT on 4 October, Bicevskis predicted that the volume of services provided to foreign clients in 2016 will be below that of 2015. This is because banks have introduced stricter requirements for their clients to reduce the chance of money laundering activities using Latvian banks.
Commenting on the information reported this summer, stating that revenue gained by torrent website Kickass Torrents had been processed through Latvian banks, Bicevskis noted that it was an isolated case. Last year, banks had reported 17,000 suspicious cases to authorities.
Kickass Torrents link to Latvia
Rus.lsm portal had reported earlier this year that Kickass Torrents was first opened in 2008. Over the years, it became one of the largest illegal torrent sites in the world.
Rus.lsm.lv wrote that an agent representing some allegedly existing IT company, had sent Kickass Torrents a letter. In it, the agent detailed his request to put up adverts on the site. This started correspondence between two sides. Negotiations resulted in a price – USD 300 a day. In addition, a bank account was provided for the money. This bank account was opened in Regional Investments Bank in Latvia. The bank account was opened on behalf of GA Star Trading Ltd. Its legal address is an offshore – Belize.
Then the two sides continued their correspondence. The same bank account in the same bank was mentioned again. Payment credentials were changed later on. This time the payment for adverts was asked to be performed to an account owned by Glomeratus Ltd. in Eesti Krediidipank. This bank also has a branch office in Latvia. However, it impossible to say from the uncovered document if the two sides were discussing the branch office in Latvia or the main office in Estonia.
American investigators have asked the court to provide an arrest on the bank account in question in the Regional Investment Bank in Latvia. It was concluded in the investigation that finances worth EUR 28,411,357 were transferred to this account throughout 28 August 2015 – 10 March 2016. Authorities, however, discovered only EUR 14,656 remaining on this account by 10 March.
Latvia’s Finance and Capital Market Commission continues the investigation regarding Kickass Torrents’ possible ties to Latvian credit institutions, as LETA was told by FCMC spokesperson Agnese Licite.