U.S. urges Latvia to step up reform after money-laundering scandal
17 May 2019

Latvia came under renewed pressure to accelerate financial reforms as a senior U.S. official, at a meeting with its prime minister, underscored the urgent need for stricter controls after a money laundering scandal.

His remarks come more than a year after the United States acted to shut down ABLV, a Latvian bank it said was linked to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, to money laundering and Russian corruption.

Marshall Billingslea, who heads the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes at the U.S. Treasury, said during a visit to Latvia on Thursday that the Baltic state required “urgently needed legislation” that was “long overdue”.

“The new government is moving swiftly but there is a lot that has to be done,” said Billingslea, praising Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins’s intentions but highlighting the need for results. “The proof is in the pudding.”

The bank’s closure was the first in a series of European money-laundering scandals that later sucked in Nordic lenders, prompting a pan-European debate about how to control such financial crime.

By Gederts Gelzis, Reuters, 16 May 2019

Read more at Reuters

Photo: European Parliament from EU [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Read more:

Corruption scandal casts long shadow over Latvia

Latvia pledges faster money laundering reform as pressure builds

Money laundering: European Commission treatment of Malta ‘unfair’ compared to Latvia – MEP

 

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One Response to “U.S. urges Latvia to step up reform after money-laundering scandal”
Richard Bampal

Richard Bampal May 17, 2019

Latvia’s offshore banking sector has long been the preferred centre for money-laundering dirty russian money using Seychelles and other registered companies. These two jurisidiction registered anonymous offshore companies on behalf of Latvian bank intermediaries and then open bank accounts in Latvia for them. Quite often, the Seychelles and BVI companies might act as as the Corporate directors of UK registered LLPs to make the structure look more respectable. This was the favoured mechanism in the Hermitage Scandal, the Ukrainian corruption scandal and the Russian Laundromat. Two offshore agents in Seychelles specialised in this servicel Intershore Consult (Pty) at 304-306 Victoria House and Apollo (Pty), owned by russian nationals living in Seychelles. Inteshore’s office now houses a Latvian bank to make the service even more accessible. Intershore’s office also houses the main political opposition party in Seychelles the LDS who have written new laws to make the offshore system in Seychelles even more opaque than before. Lativa is only half of the problem, albeit the banking part. The anonymous offshore companies (there are 200,000 of them in Seychelles) used to open and front these bank accounts are the other half of this corrupt equation. These jurisdictions need to be cut off from the international monetary system.

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