A corruption case against the governor of Latvia’s central bank was transferred to a Riga court from the Latvian Prosecutor’s Office on Monday in preparation for the trial to begin.
The charges brought against Ilmars Rimsevics, include graft and money laundering. Rimsevics is accused of accepting bribes like a paid holiday trip and a large amount of money, as well as of involvement in laundering illicit proceeds.
Businessman Martinsons has been charged with aiding and abetting bribery, as well as of money laundering.
Mr Rimsevics, who has been head of the Central Bank of Latvia since 2001, was arrested by agents of Latvia’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau in February 2018 in relation to allegations of corruption.
According to a spokesperson from the prosecutors’ office, the court will be presented with evidence that Rimsevics accepted a bribe of 250,000 euros and a fishing holiday in Siberia from Trasta Komercbanka in exchange for help with the bank’s regulatory compliance issues.
According to local media, the investigation against the head of the Latvian central bank began when two shareholders of Trasta Komercbanka, who claim to have offered the bribe to Rimsevics, informed the Latvian Prosecutor’s Office of the facts in exchange for immunity.
Mr Rimsevics, who also sits on the board of the ECB, protests his innocence and has accused other Latvian banks of orchestrating a campaign against him.
As part of the same criminal case, businessman Maris Martinsons is accused of aiding and abetting Rimšēvičs. He is also charged with laundering of the proceeds of crime.
The case was referred to the Riga City Vidzeme District Court.
News of the banker’s arrest last year came around the same time that the Latvian banking sector was reeling from another major scandal after it emerged that the country’s third largest commercial bank, ABLV Bank, had been charged with money laundering and involvement in illegal weapons development programs in North Korea by the US government