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Latvian police search ex-ECB banker Rimsevics’s house
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Latvian police search ex-ECB banker Rimsevics’s house

21.08.2021 From our online archive
The search was carried out as part of a probe into suspicions of witness tampering
The European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany
The European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany
Photo credit: AFP

Latvian law enforcement searched the house of Ilmars Rimsevics, a former member of the European Central Bank’s Governing Council, Latvia’s public broadcaster reported. 

The search was carried out on Friday at the residence of the country’s former central bank governor and those of other unidentified people as part of a probe into suspicions of witness tampering, the broadcaster reported without saying where it got the information.

Rimsevics’s lawyer, Normunds Dulevskis, declined to comment on the report when reached by phone, other than to say that Rimsevics has always handed over whatever the state required. 

Rimsevics is fighting criminal charges that he solicited €500,000 in bribes and a trip to Russia in exchange for helping the now-defunct Trasta Komercbanka with regulatory issues. His arrest in 2018 was one of a string of scandals that threatened the reputation of the financial industry in the euro-area nation. He denies all charges and blames a group of commercial banks for his legal problems. 

Part of the evidence against Rimsevics rests on the testimony of people working for Trasta. One of the key witnesses, Viktors Ziemelis, later recanted his testimony in a letter to prosecutors. 

Latvian newswire Leta reported that another witness had died. The Latvian criminal case against Rimsevics is suspended while the European Court of Justice rules on a case brought by his lawyers asserting that he has immunity from prosecution for work carried out while he was a member of the ECB’s Governing Council. 

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