Latvian parliament votes to reform banking watchdog in wake of scandals
14 Jun 2019

Latvia’s parliament on Thursday passed a bill aimed at strengthening control over the financial watchdog as the Baltic state moves to distance itself from a series of scandals that have hit the banking sector in recent years.

The country’s new government, formed in January after months of political deadlock, hopes to tighten rules ahead of a review by international money-laundering standards watchdog Moneyval, which some officials fear could label the Baltic state as risky.

Lawmakers passed beefed-up regulations that set out the duties of the country’s banking watchdog, the Financial and Capital Market Commission, in combating money laundering and terrorism financing (AML/CFT) in the financial sector.

It has been seen by many as too soft on banks.

“These ambitious reforms are a big step forward in our fight against money laundering, the financing of terrorism and arms proliferation,” Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

“These measures demonstrate our unbending political will to make further changes in the financial sector as quickly as possible and to become a leader in transparency and governance in EU.”

The new rules will mean the board of the Commission will be appointed by parliament, which will also be able to fire members.

By Gederts Gelzis, Reuters, 13 June 2019

Read more at Reuters

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