Corruption watchdog: Bank of Latvia governor’s case may be sent to prosecutor soon

The criminal case involving the governor of the Bank of Latvia Ilmārs Rimšēvičs may be sent to the prosecutor’s office within the next couple of months, said Chief of Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau Jēkabs Straume.

He said the investigation is going as planned and there are no signs of any hiccups along the way.

«The investigator handling the case and the supervisory prosecutor have said this case will make it to the stage of criminal prosecution,» said Straume.

He also said he feels no political pressure in relation to this case.

Ilmārs Rimšēvičs is accused of bribery. The size of the bribe in question is at least EUR 100,000. Businessman Māris Martinsons was detained on suspicion of possible support of the crime but later released.

CPCB reports that this criminal case is neither related to any credit institutions that operate in Latvia nor the report published by US Department of Treasury about ABLV Bank. The case may be indirectly associated with Trasta komercbanka. Neither CPCB nor Rimšēvičs’ side confirm or deny this.

Rimšēvičs’ lawyers, meanwhile, have turned to European Court of Justice to challenge the aforementioned restrictions. Lawyer Saulvedis Vārpiņš had previously said that a case has been launched against the Latvian state.

Rimšēvičs’ representative believes Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has breached the independence of the European Central Bank by incorrectly stating that by working in the council of the European Central Bank, Rimšēvičs performs his duties as governor of the Bank of Latvia. This is why CPCB has decided to impose restrictions against him.

Vārpiņš says governors of national central banks in the EU and on Latvia’s legislative level have independence guarantees. This means it is possible to dismiss bank managers only in specific cases. This includes, for example, if the person has been found guilty of committing a crime.

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