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

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

The possible amount of illegally obtained funds in ABLV Bank exceeds EUR 1 billion, according to Ir magazine.

This much was confirmed to Ir magazine by two independent and unrelated sources.

Since spring 2018, when ABLV Bank was closed, Latvian State Police has had a lot of work. Information related to this bank, its clients and employees is being analysed in close cooperation with Financial Intelligence Service.

«It is priority number one for us,» Ir magazine was told by State Police Economic Crimes Enforcement Office Chief Pēteris Bauska. His office is in the process of investigating eight criminal processes associated with ABLV Bank, but this may not be the end of it.

Several investigative groups have been composed. On top of that, we have founded a new form of cooperation this summer – once every couple of weeks representatives of police, prosecutor’s office and Financial Intelligence Service gather to discuss progress and future plans. Bauska did not comment on the matter in more detail. He did promise, however, «to do everything in our power and then some».

ABLV Bank still has not commenced repayment of deposits. This is because it is first necessary to determine the origin of said money. Unfortunately, institutions have yet to reach an agreement on the most appropriate methodology to check the origin of said money, Ir magazine notes.

Financial Intelligence Service has already frozen money worth nearly one hundred million euros in ABLV Bank. Nevertheless, the head of the service Ilze Znotiņa does not exclude the possibility of this amount increasing further.

«The amount may increase further to several hundred millions,» admits Znotiņa. She refused to comment unofficial information regarding one billion euros worth of frozen funds or reveal any information regarding the process.

Having compiled information about the true beneficiaries of the owners of the money in ABLV Bank, their ties and financial operations, law enforcement authorities have taken notice of several dozen companies whose operations show signs of money laundering.

The other direction investigations are going is the bank’s role in possible money laundering schemes, Ir magazine writes. Law enforcement authorities have taken notice of ABLV Bank’s subsidiary that works in accounting and tax consultancy services, the magazine continues.

Ir magazine has asked ABLV Bank’s liquidators to comment on the information regarding more than three billion euros worth of possibly illegal funds.

«Nearly all creditors were classified as high-risk clients in ABLV Bank’s liquidation process,» Ringolds Balodis told the magazine.

«It was done to perform careful and in-depth inspections of all creditors. Independent inspections still continue.»

When asked about ABLV Bank’s subsidiary and its status, the response was short – when liquidators had first started their work the bank had not yet owned this company.

«As for any historic periods, liquidators will continue providing all the information requested by law enforcement institutions,» said Balodis.

A work group representing 25 countries has been formed to analyse money laundering schemes and ABLV bank’s involvement in them.

Financial Intelligence Service’s chief Znotiņa admits that work on checking the list of ABLV Bank’s creditors is going well.

«We have received all historic data and have commenced work in order to assess existing clients and their operations before payment of deposits can commence. We are also making efforts to halt the outflow of money whenever we see signs of dirty origin,» said Znotiņa.

«Additionally, we are in the process of carefully assessing the involvement of the bank’s employees or other persons in different illegal activities, including money laundering,» are reported by the chief of Financial Intelligence Service.

She also admits that Financial Intelligence Service has found traces of illegal money in ABLV Bank.

«We report such deposits to the police. They decide on commencement of criminal processes and arrests of finances. If police see no reasons for a criminal process, the money is released. Most of our decisions are declared justified and money is usually arrested,» explains Znotiņa.

As it is known, the European Central Bank revoked ABLV Bank’s licence on 12 July 2018.

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