Rietumu Bank clean-up really a heist

Every year, Latvian banks are caught organizing massive crimes. And every year, Latvian officials promise to clean-up the sector but don’t really do anything. That’s why the same money-laundering crooks have been active in Latvia since the early 1990’s and never had any problem with law enforcement.

After bad publicity in early 2018 about massive corruption and money laundering, Latvia as usual announced a clean-up, the main aspect of which was having Rietumu Bank close half of its shell-company deposit accounts. We were wondering how Rietumu could do that, because it probably cannot pay back the depositors. Normally, Latvian banks operate by taking in depositor money and transferring the money to insiders using fake loans. These fake loan ‘assets’ sit on the books for years until the bank eventually collapses and we learn that the assets weren’t real.

Rietumu did manage to close half of its accounts, however this was done in a way that would be illegal in a civilized country. The bank gouged many clients with huge surprise fees thus erasing the account balances instead of allowing the balances to be withdrawn! Is it safe to assume that the depositors who got robbed were probably the lawful depositors and the depositors who Rietumu retained and didn’t rob were the biggest crooks? Here is a website where people who got robbed by Rietumu can organize:


BTA Bank, Anglo Irish Bank

In December 2013, exiled Parex Bank whistleblower John Christmas was contacted by an investigator. The investigator was originally using a false name. The investigator made statements connecting Parex Bank, Rietumu Bank, and Regional Investment Bank (Regionala investiciju banka) to the looting of billions of dollars from BTA Bank of Kazakhstan and Anglo Irish Bank of Ireland.

This is a description of the case:


The investigator, in emails, made frequent use of the term “Latvian Proxy Network” to describe “a large money-laundering network” of Latvian offshore banks that work in cooperation, often using the same shell companies, for “hiding/cleaning billions of dollars.”

In March 2014, a second investigator from a different organization also started asking Christmas about the same case.

Parex (now called Citadele) is fraudulently funded by the EBRD using your tax money.

Latvian government to Oligarchs: Please bank in our country!

Since the early 1990’s, Latvia has been the offshore banking center for Russian, Ukrainian, and other CIS oligarchs.  In the beginning, oligarchs such as Grigory Loutchansky, Viktor Chernomyrdin, Yulia Tymoshenko, and Pavlo Lazarenko were making use of Latvian banks.

Now in 2012, the offshore business has increased, to the detriment of the Latvian, Russian, and Ukrainian people.  The offshore banks of Latvia are endorsed and/or funded by the following organizations:  Moodys Ratings, Fitch Ratings, S&P Ratings, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the European Union, the IMF, the EBRD, and the World Bank.

Latvian banks are permitted to branch freely throughout the European Union with no oversight from local regulators.

Here is a list of Latvian banks in June 2012 with notes on associated oligarchs:

(1) ABLV Bank – Offshore bank serving Russians and Ukrainians.  When the European Union bailed out Parex Bank, many deposit accounts moved here.
(2) Baltikums Bank – Offshore bank serving Russians and Ukrainians.
(3) Baltic International Bank – Offshore bank serving Russians and Ukrainians.  Linked to oligarchs Valery Belokon, Boris Berezovsky, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Alexander Lukashenko.
(4) GE Money Bank – In process of being sold to Otkritie Financial Corporation of Russia.
(5) DNB Bank – Latvian retail bank.
(6) Swedbank – Latvian retail bank.
(7) Latvijas Biznesa Banka – Offshore bank serving Russians and Ukrainians.  Owned by Bank of Moscow, linked to Yuri Luzhkov.
(8) Norvik Bank – Former Lateko Bank.  Offshore bank serving Russians and Ukrainians.
(9) Latvijas Hipoteku un Zemes Banka – Government bank linked to Latvian oligarch Andris Skele.
(10) Expobank – Offshore bank serving Russians and Ukrainians.  Formerly named LTB Bank and formerly owned by MDM Bank.  Linked to Oleg Deripaska.
(11) SEB Bank – Latvian retail bank.
(12) SMP Bank – Formerly Multibanka.  Offshore bank serving Russians and Ukrainians.  Blacklisted by United States Treasury in 2005.  Linked to Arkady Rotenberg, Vladimir Putin’s judo partner.
(13) PrivatBank – Offshore bank serving Russians and Ukrainians.
(14) Regionala Investiciju Banka – Offshore bank serving Russians and Ukrainians.
(15) Rietumu Bank – Offshore bank serving Russians and Ukrainians.  Linked to Suleiman Kerimov.
(16) Trasta Komercbanka – Offshore bank serving Russians and Ukrainians.  Was involved in the Sergey Magnitsky money laundering case.
(17) UniCredit Bank – Latvian retail bank.
(18) Latvijas Pasta Banka – Spun off from Latvian Post Office and privatized to former owner of Lateko Bank.
(19) Citadele Bank – Offshore bank serving Russians and Ukrainians. Spun off from Parex Bank.  Funded by EU, IMF, World Bank, EBRD.  Linked to Oleg Boiko, Yuri Shefler.
(20) Rigensis Bank – Offshore bank serving Russians and Ukrainians.
(21) (not licensed anymore, but nobody being prosecuted)  Latvijas Krajbanka – Linked to Snoras Bank of Lithuania, Alexander Antonov, Vladimir Antonov, Oleg Deripaska.
(22) (not licensed anymore, but nobody being prosecuted) VEF Bank – Was blacklisted by the United States Treasury.  Linked to Leonid Reiman, Alisher Usmanov.

Here is the list from the Latvian regulator: