Latvian financial watchdog approves voluntary liquidation of ABLV Bank

The Finance and Capital Market Commission has approved the ABLV Bank’ plan for voluntary liquidation, the head of the Finance and Capital Market Commission, Peters Putnins, announced at a news conference on Tuesday.

The Latvian financial watchdog has also approved all four liquidators proposed by the bank – Arvids Kostomarovs, Andris Kovalcuks, Elvijs Vebers and Eva Berlaus. They are law and finance experts. Vebers is also an insolvency administrator.

The Finance and Capital Market Commission said it had satisfied itself as to objectivity of the proposed liquidators and absence of any conflict of interests.

In the next few days the Finance and Capital Market Commission will prepare a draft resolution about annulling the banking license held by ABLV Bank and will submit it to the European Central Bank (ECB). Within three days after the annulment of the license the liquidators have to publish an announcement about voluntary liquidation in the official newspaper Latvijas Vestnesis, and the creditors will then have three months to declare their claims.

The Finance and Capital Market Commission said it will continue supervising the activities by the liquidators until the completion of the voluntary liquidation to ensure the lawfulness of the process and the interests of creditors. This will be done by means of control mechanisms created specifically to prevent money laundering.

As reported, the Latvian financial regulator, the Finance and Capital Market Commission, acting on the instructions from the European Central Bank (ECB), ordered ABLV Bank to stop all payments as of February 19, 2018, following a report by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Department of Treasury about ABLV Bank’s involvement in international money laundering schemes and corruption.

The lawyers of ABLV Bank have urged FinCEN to recall its proposal, saying that the accusations against the bank were exaggerated and FinCEN had not provided evidence supporting the allegations of money laundering and bribery.

On February 26 the shareholders of ABLV Bank made a decision to start a voluntary liquidation process for maximum protection of the interests of its clients and creditors.

On May 3 ABLV Bank and its largest shareholders filed a complaint with the EU Court of Justice against the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Single Resolution Board (SRB) about several possible violations, including abuse of power, failure to observe proportionality and equal treatment, etc. The complaint lists a range of serious objections to the manner of how the decision about the bank being failing or likely to fail was taken.

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