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Monday 21.10.2019 | Name days: Severīns, Urzula
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Transparency International looks into alleged money laundering in Lithuania

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Anti-corruption NGO Transparency International has looked into reports that the bankrupt ŪKIO bankas in Lithuania could have been used to move billions as part of Troika Laundromat scheme.

ŪKIO bankas was a commercial bank in Lithuania that operated from early nineties until going bankrupt in 2013.

On Tuesday, March 5, the Berlin-based Transparency International cited this week’s investigation by the OCCRP investigative journalists, who alleged that non-resident customers of the bank had been linked to a massive money laundering scheme, the Troika Laundromat.

According to Transparency International, the scheme operated from inside the Russian investment bank Troika Dialog and involved more than 70 offshore companies registered in territories such as the British Virgin Islands and Panama. The NGO wrote that at least 35 of these companies had accounts with ŪKIO bankas and were used to move more than USD 4.6 billion (EUR 4 billion) between 2006 and early 2013.

The evaluation shows that after ŪKIO bankas went bankrupt in 2013, the number of bank accounts held by non-residents, considered as high-risk for money laundering, dropped dramatically. Before 2013, ŪKIO bankas accounted for a significant share of Lithuania’s non-resident customers.

Less non-resident customers now, Central Bank’s zero-tolerance

The international anti-money laundering watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force, found in its latest mutual evaluation of Lithuania that since 2013, the number of bank accounts held by non-residents, seen as high-risk for money laundering, dropped sharply.

As allegations about money laundering via Swedbank Lithuania surfaced, Vytautas Valvonis, Director of the Supervision Service of the Bank of Lithuania stated in late February: «The Bank of Lithuania has a zero-tolerance approach to money laundering and is committed to upholding the highest standards in the fight against such illicit activities».


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