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Monday 09.12.2019 | Name days: Sarmīte, Tabita

Šķēle and Šlesers want to become bankers and take over Meridian Trade Bank

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Ainārs Šlesers, Andris Šķēle, Arkādijs Rotenbergs, banks, economy, FKTK, Indexo, Meridian Trade Bank

Andris Šķēle (L) and Ainars Šlesers (R)

Latvian ex-politicians Andris Šķēle and Ainārs Šlesers have expressed a sudden interest in shares of Meridian Trade Bank, as reported by TV3 programme Nekā personīga.

Requirements on which the state had agreed on after the economic crisis of 2008 – for banks to serve as «large security pillows» to protect against the crisis – will come to force two years from now. However, even now there are banks that predict they will not be able to afford this. Capital insufficiency was one of the reasons why the Finance and Capital Market Commission (FKTK) decided to halt operations of PNB Bank, the programme reports.

However, it is necessary to secure «a security pillow» from other banks – including Meridian Trade Bank. This needs to be done before the end of 2019.

Nekā personīga reports that one of the biggest potential investors is MCH Investīcijas owned by Andris Šķēle and Ainārs Šlesers.

Meridian Trade Bank is associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s friend Arkadiy Rotenberg – his family purchased Skonto Group’s owned Multibank in 2006. It was later renamed SMP Bank. This bank is used in Latvia to pay pensions to former military officers in Latvia, the programme reports.

Continuing: «Following Crimea’s annexation, Rotenberg ended up on the list of sanctions. For Latvia’s SMP Bank to be able to continue operations, shares were bought out by the bank’s management. Then it was given its current name – Meridian Trade Bank

«Svetlana Dzene was in charge of the bank throughout all of its different owners. Her husband Andris Dzenis has been in the bank’s council for almost as long. Following Rotenberg’s departure the couple became the bank’s largest shareholders, owning 37% of shares.»

Since then the bank has been applied a fine by FKTK worth EUR 900 000 for unfair conditions for funding of the couple’s property. Shareholders later dismissed the couple and turned to the police over possible violation of authority and abuse of power for personal enrichment,  as well as large-scale fraud, the programme reports.

In autumn 2019, Meridian Trade Bank signed a peaceful resolution with Dzene – she agreed to give away 27% of shares in the bank and Meridian Trade Bank agreed to not enforce compensation from the ex-head, as reported by TV3 programme.

Now Dzene’s shares are owned by the same bank in which Jurijs Adamovičs is in charge of the council and Solvita Deglava is in charge of the board. Both had worked in Parex Bank after the state took it over.

Nekā personīga received confirmation from the bank that a new owner is being sought for shares.

Commercial Law states – it needs to be done within a year.

The programme notes that Meridian Trade Bank has the smallest capital sufficiency index amount all Latvian banks.

FKTK has ordered the bank to increase its capital – invest around EUR 10 million. If this is not done, there may be a reason to revoke the bank’s license.

This is why Meridian Trade Bank is looking for an investor to sell shares. There is only one month left to do this and coordinate the deal with FKTK, the programme reports.

Nekā personīga is aware minor shareholders are prepared to sell their shares. Both Šķēlē and Šlesers are prepared to provide investments using their owned MCH Investīcijas – the biggest Riga Commercial Port’s owner, which earned EUR 9.5 million in clean profits last year.

Read also: Company with ties to Latvian ex-politicians and Russia turns to EC against Lithuania

The remaining amount of investments is promised by transit business businessmen and Meridian Trade Bank council chairman Jurijs Adamovičs, as reported by Nekā personīga.

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