Where is the Dirty Money Laundry Located? – #14

In Riga, Latvia a small Baltic country and the Laundry’s name is ABLV Bank. This laundry accounted for dealings with North Korea, Iran, Russia and numerous former corrupt clients such as the Columbian cocaine baron who moved $697M to U.S., and the gas mogul who had to flee from Ukraine as the Pro-Russian government was being overthrown in 2104, and the ABVL helped move Billions of dollars through nine shell companies.

A clear example of it Starts and Ends With Management as bribery, profits and total disregard for regulations are highlighted by the RED FLAGS that clearly identify the level of greed at Management Levels throughout Latvian Regulatory Agencies, the EU and ECB and correspondent banks all over the world. We urge you to recognize the fact that there are very few people who have an interest in YOU – instead most of the interest lies in the sources you are dealing with!! Why didn’t the EU, UK and the US take action earlier – the AVLB Bank started 20+ years ago? Maybe North Korea, Russia and Iran wouldn’t be the owner or seller of nuclear capabilities. To think that there active sanctions in place against all these countries. We have identified 13 Red Flags that were waving in the global theatre throughout this period.

RED Flag #1 – Latvia a small country – low visibility – banking industry experienced huge growth. Joined EU in 1994.

RED Flag #2 – ABLV Laundry started in 1995 and grew significantly on the fact that 80% of clients were outside of Latvia and 90% of them used shell company accounts.

RED Flag #3 – Mr. Oleg Filo owner of the ABLV Laundry is “THE RICHEST MAN IN LATVIA” – how did he get there? Shouldn’t someone have been investigating this phenomenon? He and his partner started with $1MM in deposits in 1995.

RED Flag #4 – ABLV proactively was pushing their money laundering and regulatory circumvention schemes. They were making fast money – profits of 60MILLION (LATS) on 44 BILLION (LATS) in assets. No Latvian law explicitly prohibited opening a bank account in a fake name. As long as the fake name was registered in a Latvian bank branch overseas where standards fell short of other developed nations. This fact led to the growth of the ABVL laundry.

RED Flag #5 – A constant stream of visits by Diplomats resulted in directions based on observations that lax regulation allowed criminal or sanctioned entities to sneak illegally obtained fortunes into Europe. Yet nothing was done by Management of the Central Bank of Latvia (CBL).s

RED Flag #6 – In 2004 Latvia joined the EU, and their vetting gave the (CBL) a clear go-ahead, and praised Latvia for “a very comprehensive structure for the protection of the financial system”. By 2004 the assets held by the Latvian Banks were slightly larger than the country’s entire economy.

RED Flag #7 – ABLV steps up efforts to win clients in former Soviet states – Latvia is a former Soviet state. Customers generally sent money to the Latvian banks via nations that allowed companies to disguise their true owners. The ABLV Laundry just kept on growing.

RED Flag # 8 – ABLVL Laundry was doing business as a correspondent bank with 49 lenders including Deutsche Bank AG and JP Morgan Chase & Co. This allowed for easy movement of money between Latvian banks and Western Institutions who were dazzled by the offshore profits. We hope that employees of these institutions were not involved in bribes and other cover-ups to conceal the activities of the ABLV.

RED Flag #9 – U.S. Treasury conducted audits on Latvian Banks before granting military aid to the country in 2004. In 2005, the U.S. Treasury Dept. declared only two Latvian banks as money launderers. ABLV was not one of the two banks. Some Latvians and Europeans resented the American intervention. How could the #2 terror cop at U.S. Treasury miss the ABLV Laundry?

RED Flag #10 – In 2014 Latvia adopted the Euro as its currency, and the ECB took over the supervision, but had no authority to investigate money laundering leaving that to local regulators. ECB – when asked – we already have many tasks which require our full attention. What could be more important than money laundering to allow for sanctioned countries to continue growing their nuclear capabilities?

RED Flag #11 – It took until 2017 for the ABLV to hire 109 additional anti-money laundering specialists and to trim 1/5th of its Customers. This only happened as an answer to U.S.’S continual pressure – why wasn’t ABLV reacting to 20+ years of global pressure. ABVL’S ratio of outside vs. inside the country Customers was still high. They did declare a “zero tolerance “ against North Korean linked Customers. Too late – the damage was already done.

RED Flag #12 – Early in 2018 the U.S. Treasury notified everyone in a Public Notice that ABLV had forged documents to support financial schemes and bribed Latvian regulators to influence enforcement actions. The cards were starting to fold on the AVLV Laundry.

RED Flag #13 – Latvia’s regulators tried to keep ABLV afloat , many of them seeing the steady flow of bribe money disappearing, and they spent days considering a $590 million loan. However, the ECB closed the ABLV Laundry down after a run of $865million on the bank – It will be liquidated with 20% of local in-country clients taking a hit on their accounts.

The proof of bribery and pay-offs conducted in Latvia and through global banking systems is verified by the fact that the Latvian Bank Chief Mr. Rimsevics was detained from leaving the country on the suspicion of extorting a bribe of more than $123,500.

We hope this analysis raises the RED FLAG with your Management group as to what role present and future global banking regulations are playing in your International efforts. Do your banking through your local bank, and let them sort out the Correspondent Banks. Make sure that your CFO or Key Financial person often briefs everyone concerned with your Global financial relationships. You as the Manager have the “right” to ask all the questions until you have the answers that assure that correct actions are taking place. KEY LESSON: As a manager you are always “SUSPECTING but not ACCUSING!!