Latvian Bank Facing U.S. Sanctions Threat Wants Government Bailout

A Latvian bank threatened with U.S. sanctions for allegedly conducting a global money-laundering scheme, including for companies connected to North Korea’s missile program, is seeking more than a half billion dollars in government bailout money in an effort to stay afloat, The Wall Street Journal reported. The accusations against ABLV Bank by the U.S. Treasury Department have ignited one of Europe’s biggest money-laundering scandals in years and shined a spotlight on Washington’s efforts to go after Eastern European banks it says have ties to Russian money laundering. The case has also sparked criticism of the European Central Bank, which has supervised the largest banks in the eurozone since 2014. The ECB defended its oversight on Thursday, saying it isn’t granted the investigative powers to uncover illegal activities. ABLV says it isn’t guilty of money laundering, but conceded at a news conference that it suffered compliance issues big enough to merit disciplinary actions in the past. Read more. (Subscription required.)