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Four persons detained in criminal case on the laundering of 50 million euros

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ABLV Bank, corruption, detainees, money laundering, KNAB, investigationFour persons have been detained in the criminal process on the laundering of no less than EUR 50 million, as part of which searches were performed at ABLV Bank on Tuesday, 28 January, according to information from LETA.

The office of the prosecutor had previously reported eight people involved in the criminal process with rights for defence. However, the office of the prosecutor did not reveal if those people are detained or accused of anything. All of them are in Latvia, as confirmed by the office of the prosecutor press-secretary Laura Majevska.

Majevska also adds the office of the prosecutor is working with documents confiscated in searches. She stressed there is a large number of documents to go through.

Initially the office of the prosecutor reported to the press about 20 searches performed in Latvia and foreign countries in cooperation with law enforcers of other countries. Majevska later clarified that active investigation is performed in one other country – Belarus.

In the interest of the investigation no detailed information is provided at this time.

LTV reported on 28 January that ABLV Bank shareholder Ernests Bernis was interviewed as part of the criminal process. However, the man was not given any special status in the case. This much was affirmed by Bernis’ lawyer Jānis Kārkliņš.

He also mentioned that no items that «may suggest Mr. Bernis’ has ties to companies mentioned in the case» have been confiscated from Bernis home or office.

The lawyer also claims the case is related to multiple of the bank’s former foreign clients the office of the prosecutor believes may have committed some forms of crimes.

As previously reported, KNAB, Organized Crime and Other Sectors Specialized Office of the Prosecutor, State Police Organized Crime Enforcement Office, State Revenue Service’s Tax and Customs Office and Finance and Capital Market Commission officers performed investigative activities, including 20 sanctioned searches on 28 January.

It is publicly known such activities have also been performed at ABLV Bank.

LETA’s information states Latvian law enforcement authorities had also performed a search at some real estate property on Alerta Street, Riga.

More on this topic: KNAB’s search at ABLV Bank related to laundering of 50 million euros

The office of the prosecutor has reported that the investigation is related to laundering of illegally obtained funds worth no less than EUR 50 million in some credit institution.

Materials of the criminal case mention that an organized group consisting of citizens of multiple countries had legalized no less than EUR 50 million of illegally obtained funds between 2015 and 2018. This includes using a credit institution registered in the Republic of Latvia to process non-existing transactions. Illegalities committed by members of the organized group were supported by the credit institution in the process of liquidation and its employees by removing obstacles for transfer of funds, investigators say.

The criminal process is in its pre-trial phase and revolves around Part 2 of Section 275 and part three of Section 195 of the Criminal Law.

ABLV Bank’s liquidator Armands Smans admits law enforcers had performed a search at the bank’s legal address on Skanstes Street 7 k-1 in Riga. He also mentioned that the bank’s representatives actively cooperate with law enforcers to assist them with the investigation.

ABLV Bank’s liquidator Vineta Čukste-Jurjeva said more information about the search at the bank cannot be revealed, because the bank’s liquidators have signed a non-disclosure agreement. At the same time, she added that no one at the bank has been detained.

Read also: Media suggests amount of «dirty money» in ABLV Bank may exceed one billion euros

To ensure maximum protection of customers’ and creditors’ interests and, considering the decision of the European Central Bank regarding commencement of the bank’s liquidation process, ABLV Bank shareholders made the decision at their 26 February 2018 meeting to self-liquidate the bank. Latvian Finance and Capital Market Commission’s council permitted ABLV Bank to commence the self-liquidation process on 12 June 2018. On 12 June 2018 European Central Bank annulled ABLV Bank’s license.

Problems for ABLV Bank started when US Department of Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network announced in February 2018 its plans to establish sanctions against ABLV Bank for money laundering schemes that had assisted with North Korea’s nuclear arms programme, as well as illegal activities in Azerbaijan, Russia and Ukraine.


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