July 15, 2019 / 4:28 PM / a month ago

Latvia fines Rigensis Bank for lax anti-money laundering controls

RIGA, July 15 (Reuters) - Latvia’s financial watchdog has fined Rigensis Bank, the Baltic country’s 11th biggest bank by assets, 1 million euros ($1.1 million) for lax anti-money laundering controls, it said on Monday.

The Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) said in a statement the fine was “for infringements of regulatory requirements regarding the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing”.

Failures to verify beneficial owners and establish true origins of deposits were among the violations, it said.

Rigensis Bank, which mainly serves non-resident clients from countries such as Russia and Belarus, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Latvia has been hard-hit by financial sector scandals, such as the closure of bank ABLV last year after U.S. authorities accused it of institutionalised money laundering.

The country will next year undergo a review by Moneyval, the money laundering and terrorism financing monitoring body of the Council of Europe, the continent’s main human rights watchdog.

The FCMC said it had required from Rigensis Bank a plan for addressing the shortcomings, and that it had ordered it to, following measures, have an independent auditor assess its revised control system.

Meanwhile, Latvia’s central bank governor Ilmars Rimsevics, a top policy-maker at the European Central Bank, has been accused of accepting a bribe. He denies any wrongdoing.

The governor’s case is with the court now pending beginning of trial proceedings. ($1 = 0.8883 euros) (Reporting by Gederts Gelzis, editing by Anna Ringstrom and David Evans)

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