Latvia loses case to suspend indicted ECB official


LUXEMBOURG (AP) — The European Union’s top court on Tuesday overturned Latvia’s decision to suspend a member of the European Central Bank while he is investigated for alleged bribery in a scandal that has shaken the country.

The EU Court of Justice said that Ilmars Rimsevics, the governor of the Bank of Latvia and a member of the ECB’s influential rate-setting governing council, cannot be kept from performing his duties.

Latvian authorities had blocked him while they investigated him on charges of taking bribes. Rimsevics has denied any wrongdoing.

The case is a first for the ECB, which oversees monetary policy for the 19 countries that use the euro, as it has never before had to go to court to get one of its top executives restored to office pending a trial.

Rimsevics and the ECB had argued that central bankers should only be suspended when convicted of a crime. The court said Latvia did not present enough evidence for Rimsevics to be suspended immediately, before a trial begins.

Missing 17-Year-Old Girl Found Dead After 'Devastating, Mind-Blowing' Discovery Next Door Brings Months-Long Search to an End

The court’s ruling is not about whether Rimsevics is guilty, but whether his suspension is lawful.

Latvian prosecutors charged Rimsevics in June with accepting bribes — including 500,000 euros ($580,000) and a paid fishing vacation to eastern Russia — from a local bank in exchange for helping it with the financial regulator. Two shareholders in the now-defunct Trasta Komercbanka reported the case to law enforcement authorities.

Another banker, Grigory Guselnikov, has leveled similar accusation against Rimsevics, including that he was asked to launder money from Russia.

The case is part of a wider scandal around banking in Latvia and the Baltics, with the U.S. government last year accusing one bank, ABLV, of institutionalizing money laundering and bribing Latvian officials. The bank collapsed.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City