Bank of Latvia governor: I have received death threats
«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.