Latvian central bank governor freed on bail

Advert Travel Gazette

Bank of Latvia Governor Ilmars Rimsevics, who was detained last weekend in connection with a bribery probe launched by the Baltic country’s anti-corruption authority, was released on 100,000 euros (124,000 U.S. dollars) bail on Monday evening, the Latvian Corruption Prevention Bureau informed.

A video footage at Latvian news portal Delfi also showed Rimsevics dismissed the allegations as he was released. “I disagree with it absolutely,” Rimsevics told reporters.

Earlier on Monday, representatives of the Corruption Prevention Bureau said at a news conference that Rimsevics featured as a suspect in the bribery probe and that he has been barred from performing his office duties as head of the Latvian central bank pending the investigation.

The Corruption Prevention Bureau’s representatives said that the criminal investigation into organized solicitation of a large bribe, worth at least 100,000 euros, was launched on Feb. 15.

The anti-corruption watchdog did not reveal the parties involved in the bribery case, but said that the case was not related to any crediting institutions currently operating in Latvia.

The criminal probe is not posing any threats to Latvia’s financial system and its stability, the Corruption Prevention Bureau said, specifically indicating that the investigation against the Bank of Latvia governor has nothing to do with U.S. authorities’ allegations against Latvia’s ABLV Bank or Latvia’s potential legal dispute with Norvik Bank.

While Rimsevics considers his detention unlawful and baseless, a number of high ranked Latvian officials, including President Raimonds Vejonis, Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis and Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola, have called for his resignation for the sake of the financial sector’s reputation.

Rimsevics was detained in the early hours of Sunday amid a new bribery probe launched by the anti-corruption bureau. Earlier last week, the Latvian Corruption Prevention Bureau’s operatives conducted searches at Rimsevics’ office and residence outside Riga.

The head of the Latvian central bank returned to Riga from a foreign trip on Saturday evening and was driven by his lawyer to the Corruption Prevention Bureau’s office where he was interrogated for nearly eight hours.

Maris Martinsons, a businessman involved in various construction and payday loan businesses, was also briefly detained in connection with the probe.

Travel Gazette Ads