Latvia

However bad a spiralling money laundering scandal has been to the three Baltic countries, it could get even worse. Financial regulators in Estonia and Latvia told the Financial Times they were afraid Swedish banks — which dominate both headlines on money laundering and their banking systems — could withdraw from the region, just as Danske Bank and Nordea have already done amid dirty money allegations, the Financial Times reported. “Sure, we are very worried,” said Peters Putnins, head of the Latvian regulator.

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Rigas Satiksma municipal public transport company may face insolvency in March without new EUR 37 million subsidies, said Rigas Satiksme acting CEO Anrijs Matiss in an interview with Ir magazine, referred LETA. The city’s budget has not yet been adopted, therefore municipal companies receive one 12th of last year’s basic budget monthly, and in the case of Rigas Satiksme it is EUR 8.35 mln, which is about EUR 100 mln a year, The Baltic Course reported.

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Primera Air, a low-cost carrier, has ceased operations and announced it will close as of October 2 after it failed to secure financing, the Financial Times reported. In an announcement on its website, the Latvian-based airline said: “On behalf of Primera Air team, we would like to thank you for your loyalty. On this sad day we are saying goodbye to all of you.” The airline flew nine Boeing aircraft from bases in countries including Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. It offered transatlantic flights from Birmingham and Stansted airports in the UK.
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Latvia’s ABLV Bank, accused by U.S. authorities of large-scale money laundering, will be allowed to look for new investors for its Luxembourg branch after a court there ruled against forced liquidation by EU authorities, the bank said, Reuters reported. The decision comes after the European Union’s Single Resolution Board and the European Central Bank (ECB) said last month ABLV was failing and would be wound up. It followed allegations by U.S. authorities Latvia’s third-biggest bank had covered up money laundering, bribed officials and facilitated the breach of sanctions against North Korea.
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Latvia’s ABLV Bank, which the European Central Bank (ECB) has ordered wound up, said on Tuesday it had enough assets to cover its liabilities in full under a voluntary liquidation plan, Reuters reported. The ECB said at the weekend that privately held ABLV is likely unable to pay its debts or other liabilities as they fall due. “We believe our bank will be able to settle with all of our clients in full,” ABLV, Latvia’s third-biggest bank by assets, said in a statement.
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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.
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Even though new insolvency administration legislature has been introduced, there's "a lot to be done" in order to avert its shortcomings, Zlata Elksniņa-Zaščirinska, head of the Foreign Investors Council in Latvia (FICIL), told Latvian Television Wednesday. The FICIL on Wednesday published an insolvency abuse report saying that even though legislature has been pushed through compliant to the requirements of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the overall situation in insolvency administration has not improved.
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Another insolvency claim has been filed against Rigas kugu buvetava (Riga Shipyard), according to information provided by Firmas.lv. The insolvency case was initiated by the Riga Northern District Court on February 20, according to information published on the Insolvency Administration's website. The claim was filed by the foreign company Nordweg Ship Repair. The court will review the case on March 5, as LETA learned from the court. Riga Shipyard CEO Janis Skvarnovics told LETA that the company has not received any documents from the court, he was therefore unable to comment on the case.
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Six years after suffering Europe’s biggest recession, Latvia is trying a controversial recipe used in some U.S. states to free people of household debt, The Wall Street Journal reported. Parliament on Thursday passed a set of laws allowing people to choose a “non-recourse” mortgage, that will allow household borrowers the option of returning the keys to the banks if they can’t pay their loans, while preventing the lender from pursuing the borrower’s other assets. The legislation was partly modeled on non-recourse mortgage laws in 11 U.S. states.
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