According to information available to Puaro.lv, the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) has presented Bank of Latvia president Ilmārs Rimšēvičs with a decision assigning him the status of a suspect as part of other criminal proceedings.
The crime of which Ilmārs Rimšēvičs is being suspected has been described as follows by KNAB: “Ilmārs Rimšēvičs, having abused his official powers, intentionally provided law enforcement institutions in the United States of America with misleading and false data on A/S “ABLV Bank”, which is one of three banks in Latvia under direct supervision by the European Central Bank – leading to severe consequences, i.e. major harm to interests protected by law.”
Thus, Rimšēvičs is facing a criminal penalty for actions he took as an official of Latvia within the framework of his professional activities, while cooperating with Latvia’s major strategic partner in the U.S. and providing information to American officials or institutions.
This unprecedented criminal investigation of cooperation with the U.S. certainly requires more extensive commentary from KNAB, since it’s too easy to interpret as intimidation, or a signal to other officials in Latvia who might cooperate with the U.S. – particularly in terms of finance and anti-money laundering.
Puaro.lv previously wrote that one of the primary versions concerning the murder of Mārtiņš Bunkus is also related to the active cooperation of an insolvency administrator with U.S. diplomats and lobbyists.
The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) is holding Ilmārs Rimšēvičs suspect of soliciting a bribe and providing false information to U.S. law enforcement institutions in connection with the activities of ABLV Bank, according to Latvian media quoting the LETA news agency.
In the opinion of KNAB, Rimšēvičs had met with bank co-owner Ernests Bernis a few years prior, encouraging him to engage specific lobbyists to have his interests represented abroad. However, Bernis has rejected the offer, relying on his own lobbying contacts instead. He had interpreted Rimšēvičs’ offer as bribe solicitation.
KNAB believes that Rimšēvičs, driven by revenge, has maliciously given false information on ABLV Bank to law enforcement institutions in the U.S. which have not been identified by the investigation.
Based on this information, the U.S. Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a report on ABLV Bank blaming the bank for a number of things including money laundering and bribery. Since the bank was forced to make a decision to self-liquidate in the wake of this report, KNAB believes that severe consequences have resulted.
The KNAB report on applying suspect status to Rimšēvičs notes that the FinCEN report was based on false information Rimšēvičs had provided.
It is not being publicised under what sections of the Criminal Law Rimšēvičs is being charged. However, it is known that the case concerns ABLV Bank and the FinCEN report.
State television broadcaster Latvijas Televīzija has reported that the criminal proceedings have Rimšēvičs held suspect under two sections of the Criminal Law – solicitation of a bribe and abuse of power.
Rimšēvičs’ attorney Juris Grīnvalds has abstained from comment on this case. His other attorney, former Prosecutor for Investigating Severe Cases Aldis Pundurs, also provided no comment. In particular, the attorney did not answer the question about whether Rimšēvičs was being charged with the provision of false information to U.S. institutions with regard to ABLV Bank.
No comment was received from Bernis, the aforementioned co-owner of ABLV Bank, which is currently undergoing liquidation.