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Parliamentary questions
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9 January 2019
E-000072-19
Question for written answer E-000072-19
to the Commission
Rule 130
Alfred Sant (S&D)

 Subject:  Enforcement of anti-money laundering rules in Latvia: follow-up to written question 005065/18
 Answer in writing 

The Commission is monitoring the situation in Latvia regarding the liquidation of its ABLV bank and several letters have been sent to the Latvian anti-money laundering authorities. It has also asked the European Banking Authority (EBA) to investigate whether the Latvian anti-money laundering supervisor has breached EC law.

For Malta, on the other hand, the Commission requested preliminary enquiries that lasted for two years, in addition to on-site investigations. Moreover, it requested that the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) meet and produce additional information.

It has also asked the Maltese authorities to take a number of measures that questioned its methodology, strategy and ability to react, in addition to its inspection processes.

In official press releases, Commissioner Vera Jourova has referred to the fight against money laundering in the context of ‘Malta and other countries’ and has repeatedly referred to Malta’s systematic weaknesses.

Latvia’s ABLV bank held around USD 4.6 billion in assets and handled transactions valued at tens of billions of US dollars in offshore jurisdictions. The US Treasury said that the bank was involved in the theft of USD 1 billion in assets from fraudulent Moldovan banks. As for Malta’s Pilatus Bank, Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad, the chairman, funnelled USD 115 million through US banks.

Can the Commission explain why the Maltese case has been treated disproportionately in comparison to the Latvian case?

Last updated: 23 January 2019Legal notice