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High-ranked U.S. Treasury official to meet with Latvian officials in charge of the financial sector

RIGA - Marshall Billingslea, the Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing in the United States Department of the Treasury, will meet on March 8 and 9 with high-ranked Latvian officials in charge of the country’s financial sector, LETA was told at the U.S. Embassy in Riga.

According to unofficial information obtained by LETA, Billingslea is scheduled to meet with Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola (Greens/Farmers), Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis (Greens/Farmers), representatives of the Association of Latvian Commercial Banks and the Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB).

The U.S. official will also have a meeting at the Latvian Foreign Ministry, he will also hold talks with representatives of the Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) and will meet separately with FCMC head Peters Putnins.

Reizniece-Ozola said earlier that the Finance Ministry wants to discuss with the representatives of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issues concerning the U.S. authority’s report on the Latvian financial sector and ABLV Bank. The ministry also plans to inform the American colleagues about Latvia’s completed and planned political initiatives and to provide an assessment of the Latvian financial sector.

As reported, the Finance and Capital Market Commission, acting on the instructions from the European Central Bank (ECB), ordered ABLV Bank to stop all payments as of February 19 following a report by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Department of Treasury about ABLV Bank's involvement in international money laundering schemes and corruption. On February 24, the Finance and Capital Market Commission made a decision on occurrence of unavailability of deposits at ABLV Bank.

Shareholders of ABLV Bank at an extraordinary meeting last Monday made a decision to start the liquidation process in order to protect interests of its clients and creditors. ABLV Bank believes that in this way it will be possible to ensure active protection of its customers, the bank said in a statement.

The bank’s management has rejected all the allegations made in the FinCEN report and is determined to refute them.

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