Škandal v Latviji (s preiskavo in pridržanjem guvernerja centralne banke ter zamrznitev transkacij ene največjih bank s strani ECB) je le vrh ledene gore dveh desetletij korupcije, kriminala in pranja denarja v enormnem obsegu. Kaže, da poslovni modeli raznih davčnih oaz tipa Ciper niso izjema. Kaže, da lahko tudi brez statusa davčne oaze neka država razvije poslovni model, v katerem kriminalne združbe instrumentalizirajo vrhove politike, monetarne oblasti in finančni sektor, da zanje perejo desetine milijard dolarjev. Zanimivo je le to, da sta se korupcija in finančne transakcije ruskih kriminalnih združb lahko tako dolgo izvajale vsem na očeh. Da se je lahko umazan denar prek Latvije tako dolgo kanaliziral na račune zahodnih bank, predvsem denimo Deutsche bank.
No, najbrž prav zaradi tega nihče ni potegnil za ročno zavoro. In tudi ne bi, če ne bi lastniku zasebne banke (Norvik), ki ni hotel plačevati podkupnin pokvarjenemu guvernerju, prekipelo in ne bi šel s temi rabotami v tožbo proti državi v tujini in v tuje medije. Indikativno je seveda, da ga je le dan za tem javno napadel latvijski predsednik vlade, češ da s tem škoduje imidžu Latvije.
Spodaj je nekaj odlomkov iz latvijske filmske zgodbe, večje od filma. Z whistleblowerji, ki po razkritju umazanih ruskih transakcij prek bank umrejo v zaporu, z bankami, ki operejo za 20 milijard dolarjev ruskega denarja, nato pa se izvlečejo s finančno kaznijo v višini 640 tisoč dolarjev in s pokvarjenim guvernerjem z vezmi z Rusijo, ki se na nenavadnih krajih dobiva z žrtvami izsiljevanja. Kaj takšnega se na srečo v Sloveniji seveda (še) ne more zgoditi.
Latvia’s top banking official explained the “rules of the game” for successful banking in the small European country. His sidekick sat the owner of Norvik bank down, scribbling the sum on a piece of paper: 100,000 euros ($125,000) a month.
An international complaint filed by Latvian bank Norvik alleges that a “Senior Latvian Official” repeatedly sought “to extort monetary bribes” and retaliated against the bank when its owners refused to pay up. The 39-page claim, filed before a World Bank arbitration body, did not name the Latvian official.
That person is Ilmars Rimsevics, Norvik bank officials told The Associated Press.
Latvia has become infamous for money laundering since the high-profile Magnitsky scandal, in which $230 million in Russian taxpayers’ money was siphoned off, largely through Latvian banks, according to U.S. and European authorities. Whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky was imprisoned in Russia in 2008 and allegedly beaten and denied medical care, leading to his death. The U.S. and EU sanctioned Russian individuals over the case.
In 2014, a trove of leaked documents, the so-called Laundromat reports by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, detailed how $20 billion were sent from Russia, largely through Latvia, in 2010-2014. Latvian banks then went through an independent audit last year, after which Latvian regulators levied fines against 3 banks for a total of 640,000 euros.
Barely one week later, France fined Latvian bank Rietumu 80 million euros for money laundering. Major global banks, meanwhile, have stopped making dollar transactions with Latvian banks after the Laundromat’s leaked documents illustrated how dirty money had reached firms like Deutsche Bank by way of Latvian banks. Last week, the U.S. Treasury singled out one of Latvia’s biggest banks, ABLV, for having “institutionalized money laundering” and the ECB on Monday blocked ABLV from making any payments amid concerns about its finances.
All of this happened on the watch of Rimsevics, who has been at the top of Latvia’s banking system for about as long as the country has been independent from the Soviet Union. He became chairman in 1992 and then governor, the top policymaking role, in 2001. While everyday oversight of banks is managed by a specific regulator, the FCMC, its chairman is nominated by Rimsevics. The current banking regulator, Peters Putnins, also worked under Rimsevics for years at the central bank, official records show.
So the accusations of extortion by the Latvian bank Norvik hit at the heart of power in Latvia and the ECB.
“The high level official mentioned in our request for arbitration is Rimsevics,” the CEO of Norvik bank, Oliver Bramwell, told the AP.
The bank’s majority shareholder and chairman, Grigory Guselnikov, confirmed that Rimsevics is the official named in the complaint, which was filed to a unit of the World Bank that manages disputes between investors and states and was obtained by the AP.
Rimsevics, Guselnikov says, has regularly demanded bribes through a middleman since 2015, threatening to hit his bank with tougher regulations if he did not comply. These, he was told, were the “rules of the game” in Latvia.
The complaint filed by Norvik and Guselnikov says that “this Senior Latvian Official has taken advantage of the FCMC’s regulatory measures as a goad to extort monetary bribes from the Claimants, and has both personally, and through intermediaries, sought repeatedly to extort money from Mr Guselnikov.”
Vir: Washington Post