Bank of Latvia gov­er­nor: I have re­ceived death threats

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«This sit­u­a­tion is in­cred­i­bly com­pli­cated. This sit­u­a­tion is quite pos­si­bly the most com­pli­cated one I have ever been in. I feel a great deal of sup­port from peo­ple I don’t know, as well as my friends and fam­ily mem­bers. I have de­cided to not back down – I am in­no­cent. The the peo­ple at­tack­ing my rep­u­ta­tion have only one goal in mind – to have me step down,» said the gov­er­nor of the Bank of Latvia Ilmārs Rimšēvičs dur­ing a press con­fer­ence on Tues­day, 20 Fe­bru­ary.

The gov­er­nor of the Bank of Latvia Ilmārs Rimšēvičs men­tioned that ABLV Bank had turned to the Bank of Latvia with a re­quest for liq­uid­ity sup­port last Fri­day. The bank was asked to pro­vide a loan worth EUR 1 mil­lion, which the in­sti­tu­tion was un­able to pro­vide. Three hours after news re­gard­ing re­fusal to pro­vide the loan was an­nounced, au­thor­i­ties ar­rived at the Bank of Latvia and started per­form­ing a search.

«It is clear that I am be­com­ing in­con­ve­nient for many in Latvia. I have re­ceived death threats, and I have told law en­force­ment in­sti­tu­tions about them,» said Rimšēvičs. He did not men­tion any names or which law en­force­ment in­sti­tu­tions he has in­formed of the death threats. He said he re­ceived threats in the form of text mes­sages at the end of Jan­uary.

When asked to com­ment on the photo that sur­faced in 2010 and was pur­chased by The Associated Press from Swe­den’s TT News Agency, de­pict­ing Rimšēvičs to­gether with Dmitry Pilschikov, who was the head of Rus­sian Arms Com­pany, the bank’s gov­er­nor said the photo was fab­ri­cated.

When asked how many times he vis­ited Rus­sia in the past, Rimšēvičs said twice – in 2010 and 2012. In both of those times he trav­elled to Kam­chatka for fish­ing with his friend An­dris Kreis­ma­nis. Rimšēvičs also men­tioned he has never flown through Be­larus.

When asked about his trip to Spain, where he trav­elled a day prior to the search per­formed by the Cor­rup­tion Pre­ven­tion and Com­bat­ing Bu­reau (CPCB) in his of­fice and home, Rimšēvičs men­tioned that his va­ca­tion was planned three months in ad­vance and that the trip was not spon­ta­neous. Rimšēvičs also men­tioned work­ing ev­ery Fri­day over the phone.

Rimšēvičs ad­mits meet­ing with the ma­jor­ity share­holder of Norvik Bank Grig­orijs Gusel­nikov on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions in the past. The gov­er­nor of the Bank of Latvia says Gusel­nikov was look­ing for ways to meet with Rimšēvičs for a long time. «Just to fa­mil­iar­ize with each other prior to our meet­ing in the Bank of Latvia,» Rimšēvičs said. The bank’s gov­er­nor added by say­ing that Gusel­nikovs had spent a long time «plan­ning the en­tire op­er­a­tion in Latvia, while work­ing un­der the cover of mul­ti­ple spe­cial ser­vices as far back as 2013, de­vel­op­ing his busi­ness and hop­ing to earn money at Latvia’s ex­pense».

BNN had pre­vi­ously re­ported that after his ar­rest, Ilmārs Rimšēvičs was ap­plied with a se­cu­rity mea­sure that pro­hibits him from per­form­ing his du­ties. This was con­firmed by Latvia’s Prime Min­is­ter Māris Kučin­skis after an ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ing of the Cab­i­net of Min­is­ters.

Rimšēvičs is held sus­pect of de­mand­ing and ac­cept­ing a bribe worth at least EUR 100,000.

Kučin­skis men­tioned that the gov­ern­ment lis­tened to the re­port from the Cor­rup­tion Pre­ven­tion and Com­bat­ing Bu­reau (CPCB) in re­gards to Rimšēvičs’ ar­rest. He men­tioned that the bu­reau will pro­vide more de­tailed in­for­ma­tion on this mat­ter once the in­ves­ti­ga­tion al­lows it.

«The gov­er­nor of the Bank of Latvia was ap­plied with a se­cu­rity mea­sure on Mon­day, 19 Fe­bru­ary. As bare min­i­mum, he will not be al­lowed to per­form his of­fi­cial du­ties,» Kučin­skis said.

Ieva Čīka/LETA

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