Oligarchs Kargin and Koval still at it

The collapse of Latvian and Estonian payday lender MiniCredit shows that banking oligarchs Valery Kargin and Dmitri Koval are still at it, not slowing down their activity even after Kargin’s Parex Bank was revealed as a pyramid fraud and then fraudulently bailed out by the corrupt Latvian government.

Apparently Kargin and Koval worked with Rolands Petersons of PrivatBank, which was also a pyramid fraud, to license MiniCredit in Latvia and Estonia and amazingly given their histories were granted licenses.

They then opened a bank account at Citadele Bank, which is a successor to Parex and still apparently controlled by Kargin since his top offshore banker Valery Hudorozhkovs is still there.

A large amount of money was somehow run through MiniCredit’s account and then disappeared.  Some of this was presumably from low-income clients with payday loan accounts.  And perhaps some of it was from Russians running money through the accounts for laundering purposes, given the size of the withdrawals relative to the size to the company’s legitimate activities.

An interesting detail of this case is about Koval, whose Saules Bank of Latvia was caught laundering money although authorities never bothered to prosecute anyone.  Saules Bank is today merged into Rietumu Bank which is also a money launderer.

Just after Parex whistleblower John Christmas gave details of massive frauds at Parex to Latvian authorities in 2005, who ignored the information, Koval invited Christmas to meetings to discuss establishing a new bank in Latvia to serve Koval’s clients, who he described as Jewish billionaires in Moscow.  Koval wanted Christmas to be a front for the bank, making it seem like an American bank even though the clientele would be Russian.

Kargin and Koval don’t need Christmas to be their American front anymore since they found someone better.  Supposedly former Fed chief Paul Volcker is the owner of Citadele today, although we doubt Volcker has any clue what is happening there.

We continue to hope the EU and US authorities will wake up and realize that the Latvian government is running a racket to help Russians steal money from Europeans, Americans, and especially Latvians.

http://www.lsm.lv/en/article/economics/economy/payday-lenders-strange-transactions-uncovered-in-estonia.a221430/

Latvian connection to Trump dossier

The headlines all week have been about the Trump dossier which is a memo by ex-MI6 officer Christopher Steele containing unverified information that the Putin Regime has been blackmailing Donald Trump to allow Russia to attack Ukraine.

Part of the memo is about Alfa Group of Russia, which was closely linked to Parex Bank of Latvia.  Alfa Group oligarchs Mihail Fridman and Piotr Aven are close friends with Parex oligarchs Valery Kargin and Viktor Krasovitsky.  According to the media, Alfa was negotiating a purchase of Parex in 2007.  Alfa apparently decided not to purchase Parex and instead a billion euros of Parex assets disappeared and Parex liabilities were handed to Latvian taxpayers in 2008 as Parex’s offshore banking employees and clients were shifted to Citadele Bank and AB.LV.  The government made no attempt to recover the missing billion and didn’t bother to prosecute anyone despite clear evidence of massive frauds.

Aven in particular is well known in Latvia because he together with Russian oligarch Yuri Shefler control Latvijas Balzams.  When Latvian oligarch Andris Skele invited them to Latvia to become owners of this state company, there were approximately seven assassinations of Latvian citizens linked to the transaction.  Parex made illegal fraudulent loans to Latvijas Balzams which were never investigated.

The memo names Latvia as a country where Russia is bribing people.  This is consistent with the fact that Latvian politicians decided to give a quarter of the national budget to Parex in 2008/2009 thus causing the economic and demographic collapse of Latvia.  Still today there has been no investigation and the government is still lying that “Sweden” caused the collapse.

We welcome a whistleblower from within the UK/US intelligence agencies.  For many years, the UK/US intelligence agencies have been protecting Putin’s oligarchs by keeping information about their crimes secret.  Maybe now they can arrest the criminals instead of protecting them.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/12/intelligence-sources-vouch-credibility-donald-trump-russia-dossier-author

Documented: Parex Bank and Tambovskaya Mafia

Attached below is a document dated 29 May 2015 by the “Fiscalia Especial Contra la Corrupcion y la Criminalidad Organizada.”  It is the case prepared by Spain against Vladimir Putin’s Tambovskaya Mafia.  The Tambovskaya are involved in looting governments, international heroin trafficking, and murdering informants.  The wars in Chechnya and Ukraine in which tens of thousands of people were killed could also be blamed on Tambovskaya.

It was already known that Mikhail Rebo (sometimes spelled Rabo) was the main money launderer for Tambovskaya and his wife Tatiana Rebo was manager of the Parex Bank office in Berlin.  Now we have more details.

Parex Bank is mentioned in the document on pages 130, 137, 276, 277, 278, 379, 380, and 392.  Parex sister company International Overseas Services is mentioned on page 130.  Several other notorious Latvian banks are mentioned throughout.

Parex is mentioned again on pages 404, 405, and 406 including specific mention of Tatiana Rebo.  Throughout the document there are references of money going through Latvia and Germany, with Germany sometimes used to mean Parex Bank Berlin.

Page 429 mentions “Rabinovich” who owns a store in Riga.  This could be a reference to Parex shareholder Grigory Rabinovich who was a close friend of the Parex oligarchs.  When Parex was looted prior to the handover of Parex liabilities to European taxpayers, the bank made a fake unrecoverable loan to Rabinovich which seemed to be a refund of the money he paid to purchase Parex shares.  The other minority shareholders including Americans and Swedes didn’t get refunds.  Obviously this was illegal however nobody got punished except taxpayers.

On page 429 starts a discussion of “Chaika” who seems to be Russian General Prosecutor Yuri Chaika who is known to have laundered money through Latvia, and “Vova” who is Vladimir Putin.

The Latvian government and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have been running a propaganda and disinformation campaign since 2009 to blame the disappearance of the assets of Parex on the United States and Sweden.  Even though it was already revealed in 2014 that the Latvia/EBRD/Parex bailout of 2009 was a cover-up fraud, most newspapers refuse to publish truthful articles and are still sticking with the United States/Sweden story.

The signer of the fraud, Valdis Dombrovskis, is now European Commission Vice President responsible for the integrity of the euro.  Another fraud organizer, Bank of Latvia Governor Ilmars Rimsevics, is on the council of the European Central Bank.  The ECB is the largest investor in Latvian bonds and Rimsevics knows that the bonds were issued fraudulently to bailout a Russian Mafia bank.  The only person Latvia prosecuted in connection with the fraud bailout was whistleblower Ilmars Poikans who exposed Rimsevics for paying a huge bonus to himself after organizing the fraud.

AL JUZGADO

 

Spain issues Warrants

A Spanish judge has issued warrants for Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, a group of top government officials linked with the Tambovskaya Mafia of St Petersburg.  The officials include Vladislav Reznik, Nikolai Aulov, Dmitry Kozak, Viktor Zubkov, Anatoly Serdyukov, Igor Sobolevsky, and Leonid Reiman.  Reiman has been a regular visitor to Latvia for years because he banks in Latvia.  His business rival Leonid Rozhetskin was assassinated in Jurmala in 2008.

Gennady Petrov, a top figure in Tambovskaya, was arrested in Spain in 2008 however later was allowed to visit Russia.  He is still in Russia living free today.  Spain also issued a warrant for his billionaire friend Mikhael Chernoy however Chernoy is protected by the Israeli government.

We at LawlessLatvia are extremely happy that a government in the West has taken action against Putin’s oligarchs.  Hurray for Spain!

The United States has issued warrants in the past for Putin’s associates Semyon Mogilevich and Dmitry Firtash.  However Mogilevich is protected by the Russian government and Firtash is protected by the Austrian government.

Shame on the United Kingdom for hosting some of Putin’s oligarchs for 20 years without issuing warrants for them.  The UK seems to have a strategy of protecting oligarchs because of a perceived belief that the UK benefits from allowing oligarchs to spend stolen money in the UK.

Perhaps the new Spanish warrants will cause people to think of the banks in Latvia and Lithuania which are linked to Putin.  Parex Bank of Latvia was identified by the media long ago for being linked to Tambovskaya.  And, Ukio Bank of Lithuania was recently identified in the Panama Papers for transferring massive corrupt payments to Putin’s apparent nominee.

Many assets of Parex Bank disappeared in 2008.  Latvia nationalized the bank and partly re-privatized it to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in a deal that was confirmed fraudulent when Latvia reversed the privatization five years later because of a secret guarantee.  Meanwhile, Parex oligarch Valery Kargin moved to Russia.

Many assets of Ukio Bank disappeared in 2013 and again the EBRD organized mysterious deals at public expense to hide the truth from the public.  Meanwhile, Ukio oligarch Vladimir Romanov also moved to Russia.

Officials in Europe and the United States refuse to investigate clear fraud evidence provided by whistleblowers in both cases, apparently to protect the EBRD.  And, the Media continues to produce false articles blaming the collapse of Parex and Ukio on the Global Financial Crisis rather than internal fraud and embezzlement, while praising the EBRD for rescuing Latvia and Lithuania.

Hopefully the Spanish warrants will wake up some Western officials to the fact that the disappearance of Parex and Ukio assets was not caused by the Global Financial Crisis and the EBRD is using Western taxpayer money to cover-up for Putin’s money launderers.

article:  http://world.einnews.com/article/324398432/-iYLdPMrOfopZvI8

US investigates Latvia and Deutsche Bank

The United States is currently investigating Deutsche Bank for massive Russian money laundering.

Seems that once again, Latvia was involved.  Of course the racket in Latvia that hurts millions of victims in Latvia and Russia could have been stopped years ago since full fraud information about Parex Bank is openly available.

Trasta Komercbanka was a spin-off from Parex, founded by a former Parex representative.

http://www.lsm.lv/en/article/economics/economy/latvian-bank-linked-to-another-russian-money-laundering-operation.a164643/

 

 

 

Latvia launders for Russian General Prosecutor

People following Russian events have been watching and reading about Alexei Navalny’s new YouTube video about outrageous crimes involving the family of Vladimir Putin’s General Prosecutor Yuri Chaika.  Chaika is connected with a gang of rapists and murderers and family members have become very rich from corruption.  As usual, the money was laundered by the Latvian Proxy Network.  We continue to wonder when the West will wake up to the global threat of the Putin Regime.  Currently, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Eurostat are using our taxes to fraudulently fund and protect the Latvian Proxy Network thus strengthening Putin.

http://www.lsm.lv/en/article/politics/navalny-chaika-money-was-laundered-via-latvia.a159194

Russian nuke exec launders through Latvia

Link

It happened again.  Yet another massive money laundering scandal in Latvia.  Of course, this should be no surprise since Latvia never prosecutes anyone even when foreign governments hand completed investigations to Latvian officials.  Latvia’s only efforts have been directed at whistleblowers – terrorizing them to make them shut up.  Since there are only a tiny number of people who benefit (the Oligarchs and their cronies) and millions of people who are hurt (Latvians, Russians, Europeans, Americans) it is really amazing that the Western governments allow this racket to continue.

http://www.investing.com/news/world-news/russian-nuclear-exec-pleads-guilty-to-arranging-$2-million-in-bribes-359401

OCCRP wins prize for exposing Latvia

The OCCRP won recognition from the European Press Prize for exposing part of the “Latvian Proxy Network” racket by which government-protected banks launder billions of dollars for organized crime groups.

http://www.europeanpressprize.com/

This was the article:

https://reportingproject.net/the-russian-laundromat/

The OCCRP also released a video about the assassination network used by the “Latvian Proxy Network” identifying Alexander Antonov as the big boss.  Antonov was shot in 2009 when he was trying to buy AP Bank (Swiss) from Parex oligarch Valery Kargin.  The fact that this bank is currently owned by the EBRD following a fraudulent bailout using our tax money was unfortunately omitted from the article and video and therefore the “Latvian Proxy Network” continues to operate with impunity.

Anyway, it’s great that some brave journalists are educating the public about some of the crime in Latvia.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzK_tLgXN_w&feature=youtu.be

Latvia in MoneyLaundering.com


Neighboring Russia, and Under Its Sanctions’ Shadow Too
November 13, 2014 By Kira Zalan
  

Whatever the effectiveness of sanctions meant to sway Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, one thing is certain: they’ve worsened the country’s capital flight problem. By year’s end, approximately $128 billion will have moved abroad, up from $63 billion in 2013, according to Russia’s central bank. The European Central Bank in May cited a figure four times Moscow’s numbers.

 

But tracing where those funds are winding up and how they got there is difficult, according to financial crime experts. For countries with long-held financial and political ties to Russia, such opacity is only deepening suspicions that their financial institutions may be conduits for sanctions dodgers and money launderers.

 

Take Latvia, a former Soviet republic that earlier this year became the latest nation to adopt the euro. As part of an effort to align its banking sector with international standards, the Baltic country in 2008 passed an anti-money laundering law and established a financial intelligence unit—steps recognized by the Council of Europe’s Moneyval in 2012.

 

Latvia’s financial markets regulator hasn’t registered a subsequent increase in Russian capital deposits since March, the beginning of western sanctions over Russia’s involvement in Crimea.

 

Official statistics notwithstanding, “there’s a big industry in moving Russian money through Latvia,” said Josh Simmons, policy counsel at Global Financial Integrity, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group.

 

With Russian clients, “it’s difficult to know a lot of the time where the money is actually coming from,” said Simmons. “You don’t know if it’s proceeds of corruption, a state-owned entity or an individual that’s been sanctioned by the U.S.”

 

Under U.S. and EU sanctions, banks must freeze the assets of dozens of Russian companies and individuals and sharply limit the maturation windows on credit extended to certain businesses. The restrictions have forced banks to decipher hundreds of corporate arrangements worldwide to determine their exposure to monetary penalties.

 

‘Quite a temptation’

 

With a population of two million and a complex history with Moscow, Latvia has leaned toward the West since gaining its independence in 1991. That hasn’t stopped an influx of suspicious Russian funds, however.

 

An investigation by the nonprofit Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project in August exposed a scheme in which 19 Russian banks allegedly used fake debts and courts to transfer $20 billion through Moldova’s Moldindconbank to Latvia’s Trasta Kommercbanka AS between 2010 and 2014.

 

The exposure of Latvian banks to criminal exploits is exacerbated by the financial sector’s reliance on non-resident clients. Nearly half of all deposits in the country’s banks belong to foreign clients, according to national statistics.

 

“One of the biggest challenges in general is the presence of money of foreign origin in banks,” an official in Latvia’s Financial and Capital Markets Commission (FCMC) told ACAMS moneylaundering.com via e-mail. To better monitor foreign money, the regulator has imposed stricter anti-money laundering (AML) duties on banks with high shares of non-residential accounts, the person said.

 

“For so long, there’s been a boutique banking sector: customer oriented, whatever you want done, we’ll find a way to do it,” said Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University. “It’s difficult [for regulators] to say, in effect, sometimes you’ll have to turn away business, particularly when the banking sector faces a lot of competition and livelihood depends on turnover.”

 

Galeotti, who has researched money flows into Latvia, said there is anecdotal evidence that Russians are willing to pay as much as double in percentage fees to have their money laundered.

 

“This is quite a temptation for Latvian bankers,” he said.

“Risks are increasing, but so are opportunities in the short-term.”

 

One day before the imposition in March of U.S. sanctions over violence in Ukraine, the chief executive officer of Latvia’s PrivatBank described plans to grow the banks non-resident deposits, particularly from clients in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan—“countries in which businesses are interested in EU banks,” according to Latvian news agency LETA.

 

Small sector, big perks

 

Although the size of Latvia’s banking industry remains modest when compared with offshore hubs like Cyprus and Malta, the country is nevertheless a regional financial center, according to the country’s regulator.

 

That’s because Latvian banks have carved a niche by “dealing with short-term incoming cash flows,” said Kristaps Zakulis, FCMC chairman, in a statement. The specialization differentiates Latvia from historical financial sectors, such as Switzerland and London, which focus more on attracting long-term deposits from non-residents, according Zakulis.

 

With Scandinavian-owned Swedvank, SEC and Nordea dominating the domestic market, Latvian boutique banks have had to cater to Russian-speaking clientele, according to Galeotti and Andrew Bowen, a Boston College Ph.D. candidate working with Galeotti.

 

Rietumu Banka, which in August was the subject of a FCMC enforcement action for inadequate customer controls, advertises 5-year residence permits for foreign investors who deposit more than 300,000 euros in 5-year-term deposits or bonds—“the fastest and easiest way to the residence permit.”

 

The permits, which can also be obtained by investing 72,000 euros in real estate or 35,000 euros in a business, come with an EU national ID card and a guarantee of free movement within 25 countries of Europe’s Schengen Area.

 

With the exception of Hungary, Latvia’s permit thresholds are lower than any other EU country, including Spain, Greece and Portugal. But while Hungary’s permanent residence program has “reportedly attracted little interest,” over 7,000 people—75 percent of whom are Russian—had been granted permits as of 2013, according to an August 2013 story by The Wall Street Journal.

 

“Cyprus is still under heavy surveillance while Latvia is still an integral point for getting capital out of Russia,” said Bowen, adding that there has been talk recently of repealing the lax residency visa system. “They’re trying to be more careful,” likely as a result of pressure from other European economies, he said.

 

Checkered past

 

If Latvia has made progress in policing its financial sector, it has done so following decades of banking troubles.

 

Immediately after the fall of the Soviet Union, in the early 1990s, the Baltic nation adopted a posture on financial regulation that was “extremely liberal,” said Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute. “They simply didn’t understand what they were doing.”

 

Parex Banka, established in 1992, was “a money laundering bank from the outset,” that would “exchange all currencies and ask no questions,” said Aslund. Parex became the second largest bank in Latvia and was subsequently faulted for facilitating money laundering and corruption.

 

In 2005, the U.S. Treasury Department designated Multibanka and VEF Bank as institutions of “primary money laundering concern” under Sec. 311 of the Patriot Act.

 

Two years later, six Latvian banks were among the financial institutions implicated in the so-called “Magnitsky Affair,” in which attorney Sergei Magnitsky allegedly uncovered evidence of a $230 million Russian tax fraud. The perpetrators purportedly funneled $63 million through Latvia’s banking system.

 

Following a probe into the allegations, FCMC fined one unnamed bank approximately $200,000, the maximum monetary penalty the regulator can impose for poor internal controls. Latvian media reported that $365 million may have been laundered through an account at Trasta Komrcbanka, $6.2 million of which may have had links to fraud scheme.

 

The Latvian bank has denied the allegations.

 

Other scandals have linked Latvian banks to money laundered by Mexican drug cartels and deposed Ukrainian officials.

 

Following compliance troubles at home, at least one U.S. bank—JPMorgan Chase— decided earlier this year to end its dollar-clearing transfers for Latvian lenders, officials confirmed. Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank are still providing the services for Latvian banks, according to the bank Web sites.

 

To address concerns, Latvia intends to impose tougher AML rules on banks “to sharpen the combat of potential money laundering through the Latvian financial sector,” officials said in an e-mail.

 

But more rules may not be enough, according to Galeotti.

“To be honest, there is a need for people to get caught and tried and put in prison to get people to realize that the balance between risk and opportunity has shifted,” he said.

Karin Dawisha’s “Putin’s Kleptocracy” links Putin to Parex

Russia scholar Karin Dawisha recently published “Putin’s Kleptocracy.”  It is an excellent book, detailing Vladimir Putin’s ascent from the KGB to the St Petersburg Mafia to the Russian Presidency.  Dawisha links Putin with certain organized crime bosses in St Petersburg who are linked with Parex Bank.  This might cause problems for Latvian officials (general prosecutor, central bank governor, and others) who are fighting to protect Parex because the FBI (as revealed yesterday by the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal) is probing Putin’s money laundering activities.

http://gangstersinc.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-russian-mafia-in-spain

Now in November 2014, Parex Bank successor Citadele Bank is operating with mostly the same employees and its core business is still serving offshore shell-company accounts for Russians.  Even though the Latvia/EBRD bailout is publicly known to have been fraudulent, the people who signed the deal are not being prosecuted.  Former Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis is now Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the euro.  Former EBRD President Thomas Mirow was not reinstated at the EBRD even though Putin recommended him.  Instead, Mirow is now Chairman of HSH Nordbank.