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Monday 19.03.2018 | Name days: Jāzeps

Dismissal requested for Latvia’s Finance Minister; parties worried about finance sector sinking deeper

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvia’s Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola has failed to prevent the decision made by United States Department of the Treasury, which is ruinous for the country’s financial sector and humiliating for its reputation, says chairman of New Conservative Party Jānis Bordāns.

The party intends to request dismissal for Reizniece-Ozola.

On Tuesday, 20 February, Reizniece-Ozola mentioned there is no reason to distrust the head of the Finance and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) Pēteris Putniņš.

The opinion of Latvia’s Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis coincides with that of the finance minister. He also sees no reason to distrust the finance sector’s watchdog. As for Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau’s (CPCB) arrest of the governor of the Bank of Latvia Ilmārs Rimšēvičs, Kučinskis said ‘it is no show’ – there are good reasons for CPCB to act this way.

Bordāns believes the Bank of Latvia and FCMC are managed by people with questionable reputation.

Progressive party believes politicians’ reaction to Rimšēvičs’ arrest causes concerns about the division of official power.

«Suspicions are caused by the ruling politicians’ words about requests for Rimšēvičs to step down. Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola’s request for Rimšēvičs to step down coincides with Saeima speaker Ināra Mūrniece and Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis’ opinions. This request was voiced before law enforcement institutions had reported information about the situation,» the party noted.

This raises concerns about division of power, because in previous situations there was «an attempt to hide behind presumption of innocence», saying that a person accused of serious crimes can be allowed to continue performing their duties until the ruling has come into force, the party stated.

Progressive party’s board member and economic work group manager Mārtiņš Kossovičs says: «What we see in the management of Latvia’s financial system has been critical for a long time. Unfortunately, supervisory institutions have served narrow capital or bank interests, not the majority of society. The current situation reminds a rehearsed performance by the elite and brutal division of influence. Until now not a single other official has been sacrificed so easily.»

The leader of Harmony Jānis Urbanovičs believes Kučinskis is incapable of dealing with his duties in relation to problems with the financial sector and other fields. Because of that, Urbanovičs says the prime minister should step down.

Chairman of For Latvia’s Development party Juris Pūce is concerned about Reizniece-Ozola’s habit of saying different things in every interview. «What we have seen in recent days, Latvia’s financial sector has been impacted by several heavy shocks, which came as a result of the government’s uncoordinated and chaotic behaviour. The prime minister ’has disappeared’ and cannot possibly offer a clear plan to resolve the crisis. The finance minister, on the other hand, says something else in every interview. Such behaviour does not help resolve complicated situations. It also risks drowning Latvia’s financial sector in an even deeper crisis,» says Pūce.

Pūce explains that clear government communication and efforts are needed to restore trust in Latvia’s financial sector and supervisory institutions.

The governor of the Bank of Latvia Ilmārs Rimšēvičs has been applied with a prohibition to take post, said Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis after a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.

It should be added that Rimšēvičs is being held suspect of demanding and receiving bribes worth at least EUR 100,000.

Kučinskis says the government listened on Monday, 19 February, to the report from the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau on Rimšēvičs’ arrest. More detailed information on this matter will be provided by CPCB representatives.

«A security measure was applied to the governor of the Bank of Latvia on 19 February. The least we can expect is a prohibition from performing his duties,» said the prime minister.

He confirmed that the criminal process launched by CPCB is associated with Rimšēvičs’ arrest, not ABLV Bank or any other financial institution. At the same time, he mentioned that CPCB has commenced «decisive and direct efforts to combat machinations in the country’s financial sector».

Chief of CPCB Jēkabs Straume mentioned that there are two individuals involved in the criminal process – a high-ranking official of the Bank of Latvia and some other individual. The bribe in question is worth at least EUR 100,000.

BNN had previously that US FinCEN plans to apply sanctions against ABLV Bank for money laundering schemes that were used to circumvent sanctions against North Korea and assist with the country’s nuclear arms programme, as well assist with illegal activities in Azerbaijan, Russia and Ukraine.


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