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KNAB has commenced criminal proceedings against a public official of the Central Bank of Latvia (Latvijas Banka)

19 / 02 / 2018

On 19 February 2018, the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau of Latvia (KNAB) and the State Police of Latvia held a joint press conference regarding recent investigative activities of KNAB. The Director of KNAB Jēkabs Straume informed that on 15 February 2018 the authority commenced criminal proceedings against a top-level public official of the Central Bank of Latvia (Latvijas Banka). The investigation arises from the alleged solicitation and acceptance of a bribe by a public official who holds responsible position in violation of Paragraph 4 of the Section 320 of the Criminal Law of Latvia. The alleged amount of a bribe is not less than 100 000 EUR. The top-level public official was detained for 48 hours; one of the restraint measures taken thereafter prohibited the public official from undertaking official duties.

In the above-mentioned criminal proceedings also one natural person is involved against whom such a restraint measure is applied which do not implicate the deprivation of liberty. The State Police is providing KNAB with pre-trial investigation support.

KNAB highlights that the criminal proceedings do not pose threats to Latvia’s financial situation or stability. Additionally KNAB informs these criminal proceedings are unrelated to any credit institution currently operating in Latvia, and are unrelated to the recent announcement of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

AS Norvik Banka’s request for arbitration against the Latvia government is also unrelated to these criminal proceedings. During the press conference the Chief of the Criminal Police Andrejs Grišins informed that the State Police had commenced other criminal proceedings relating to an application submitted by Norvik Banka alleging that a high-ranking official in financial sector extorted bribes from bank’s largest shareholder. The State Police’s Economic Crime Enforcement Department is the investigating law enforcement body.

KNAB cannot disclose any further information during the pendency of the pre-trial investigation.

KNAB emphasizes that no person is considered guilty unless guilt is proven in accordance to the law.

KNAB invites representatives of credit institutions, entrepreneurs and any persons having information concerning solicitation of undue advantage or extortion of a bribe to contact KNAB’s Report Centre (Riga, Brīvības street 104, c-2; knab@knab.gov.lv), or use the free 24-hour hotline (+371 80002070). KNAB accepts anonymous reports.

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